Terry Sarten

Singer Songwriter

An Open and Shut Musical Case

There was a story in the papers recently about a fugitive from justice getting away by hiding in music case. This was quickly followed by a worried press release from Yamaha, who make a variety of musical instruments, warning people “about climbing into musical instrument cases”, suggesting this was not a good idea.
Mr Carlos Ghosn, the ex-CEO of Nissan Japan, clearly did think it was worth a try. He wanted to flee Japan where he was under house arrest and facing charges of financial wrongdoing and misappropriation of funds. His escape reads like a comedy sketch but does have serious consequences for matters of justice.
The case used in the escape escapade was for a double bass and big enough for a small person to hide in. A group of musicians came to perform at Ghosn’s home where he was under house arrest. When the performance ended, Ghosn got all 1.7m (5’ 7inchs) of himself into a Yamaha double bass case and was smuggled away to a nearby small airport then onto a private plane. Airport security did not realise he was inside the case. He then flew to Turkey and got onto a further flight to Lebanon. It can be assumed he was no longer in the music case for the second stage of his escape.
As a musician myself, I had never considered a music case as a key player in a flight from justice but I can see how it is possible to do this. My musical accomplice John Scudder in The Urban Angels (the name is another story) plays a double bass. I’m not very tall and reckon with a bit of body folding origami. I could get inside the case. Whether I would want too is one thing and would it be wise is another question to which the answer is no.
Yamaha agree and have expressed their concern in the form of a warning “after any unfortunate accident would be too late, so we ask everyone not to try it.” This seems a very polite way to say ‘don’t try this as it could end in tragedy’. I guess that includes trying to hide inside one of their grand pianos as well. It could be painful as piano’s are full of flats and sharps.
I can see why they felt the need to point this out. Yamaha doesn’t want fugitives all over the world hiding inside its music cases. There is always an idiot somewhere who will go ‘What a great idea. I will hide inside a double bass case, get my mate to latch it shut. Nobody will be able to see me and I’ll get into the classical orchestra gig for free’. Having given no thought to how they will get out, remain trapped when the case is left behind because the bass player is doing the piccolo parts this time until someone notices muffled moaning and opens the case and a starving person falls out gasping for air.
The picture above is my son Stefan as a toddler deciding to climb into my guitar case because it was open and looked a comfy place to sit. Possibly that was the moment when he decided that music was cool. He did grow up to become an incredibly talented musician so who knows.
It is not always an open and shut case but music can lift the spirits and make us feel good when the going gets tough and provide an escape.

To give you the best possible experience, this site uses cookies and by continuing you will accept that we can save them on your device. Our cookies don’t collect personal information. For more information, please read our privacy policy. You will find the link on the site „Imprint“.