Help! Find Chi-chi’s lost bow on London Underground

Help! Find Chi-chi’s lost bow on London Underground


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2018

Message from Chi-chi Nwanoku, principal double bass of the Chineke Foundation:

LOST BOW!!! My worst nightmare!

I changed trains from district line at Hammersmith (eastbound), & left my double bass transitional pernambuco bow (white hair) on the train at approximately 11.10 this morning. It is in a black case. HELP!

Please share.

Contact Chi-chi or Slipped Disc if you have information.

UPDATE: They found it!


  • V.Lind says:

    Good luck to her, but the trope of musician carelessness just goes on and on.

    • Symphony musician says:

      Thank you so much for your understanding of common human weakness and failing! For what possible reason do you think musicians should be any less prone to the failings and momentary lapses of judgement which afflict all members of the human race from time to time? Believe me, as somebody who has once accidentally left an instrument on public transport, I can well imagine how many times today Chi-Chi has asked herself how she could have let this happen. I very sincerely hope she gets the bow back.

      • V.Lind says:

        So do I. But the incidence of musicians leaving valuable and treasured equipment behind, as reported on this site, is massive. Of course we all make mistakes, and probably each only does it once, but it is frustrating to read the same tale time and again when the agency of the problem is almost always the musician him/herself.

        • Symphony musician says:

          But the point you’re missing is that probably tens of thousands of professional musicians from many nations read this blog. Whatever the number is, the proportion you read about here, who accidentally lose an instrument, is extremely small. This blog is a valuable tool for alerting people to help these poor unfortunates by supporting them and, more importantly, keeping a look out for the lost item. I would like them to continue to be able to get help and support here without being made to feel even worse through the kind of unnecessary and unsympathetic comments you made earlier.

        • Robert King says:

          To put this into context: the Musicians Union in the UK alone has 30,000 members. Probably double that for the real number in the profession. We all have musical instruments which we cart around, day in, day out. That a few times a year someone whose most treasured possession is some awkward shaped thing called a musical instrument, and who moves it every day on stressful public transport, often carrying a variety of other bags, usually during the rush hour, and for whom those minutes on the train are usually “office time” when we try to coordinate current work, future work, sort the diary, think logistics (double bass players have a nightmare life with that unwieldy, heavy wooden thing they constantly hump and heave around), family, childcare (performing musicians work unsociable hours and we have a constant juggling act with childcare, especially if both of us work in the music business) should momentarily forget the thing that is so familiar to us is surely understandable, and forgivable.

          There may be a few amazingly and constantly organised, focussed people who have never in their life left something on the shop counter when distracted, or gone to the supermarket and forgotten to buy more satsumas or loo paper or whatever was no 43 on the shopping list (let alone, was it David and Samantha Cameron, leave a daughter in the pub by mistake?), but most of us are human. We all have our systems to try not to forget anything, big or small, but we all do. We 60,000 professional musicians sometimes also play wrong notes, and we don’t mean to do that either!

          And, meanwhile, feel huge sympathy for Chi-chi , whose turn it today was to mess up.

          • Una says:

            Well said, Robert. So many perfect people in life – or who think they are – and the rest of us with our human failings are then ridiculed! Nearly as good as the armchair unsympathetic and often arrogant musicians who expect perfection from us who are actually doing the job!

        • Bruce says:

          “Massive.” What, like 5 instances in the past year? LOL.

    • J. Norpoth says:

      Anyone judging who has never taken public transit with a double bass really needs to shut the f*ck up.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    What is a “transitional” bow?

    • Doug says:

      When it first emerges from the sea onto dry land and develops lungs but still retains flippers.

    • Simon Scott says:

      The transitional bow appeared towards the end of the 18th century. It is basically a kind of hybrid between the baroque and the modern Tourte style bow. Paganini started his career thus,however,we are pretty certain that he wound up with the Tourte style bow.

  • Chi-chi Nwanoku says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful messages of support. Yes, after 37 years as a professional double bass player I have slipped up, and left my beautiful transitional bow on the underground train. I rarely have to go anywhere with just the bow, so whenever I do it feels somehow strange and my normal muscular memory is not switched on. The phone rang just before I was changing trains, therefore causing a slight distraction. I have blamed myself over all else. It is my own fault; I was briefly distracted, and the consequence is immense. I’d post a photo of the bow here if I could. Thank you again for your thoughts.

    • V.Lind says:

      I want you to know I do hope it is returned to you, and I understand how it happened. Thanks also to the posters above for their comments. Taken on board and concurred with; my impatience with this sort of story was clearly misplaced and I apologise.

    • Una says:

      Take no notice of the know-alls on here!

  • B. McNab says:

    Wonderful news that Chi-chi’s bow was handed in to lost property and reunited with her. I am probably more absent minded and now use a variety of methods to help. Two of these are attached to valuable items: 1. A Tag&Track tag or label with a unique identity code and contact details of a call centre, no personal details are displayed. 2. A ‘Tile’ tracker which connects to mobiles via bluetooth and shows the last known location. If reported lost it also connects through other people’s phones which then let the owner know where it is.
    I imagine there is a huge amount of stuff in lost property storerooms. It would be great to think of more ways of reuniting people with their possessions, thereby making people happy and reducing waste.
    Whilst musicians collectively may only rarely lose items, they are the tools of their trade, sometimes of high monetary value, maybe historic and integral to their performance.

  • Carole Dickens says:

    How wonderful that Chi-chi’s bow was found, sent to lost property, and reunited with her. Humans can be very kind.