music is running smoothly in metro paris
Nearly a thousand artists, from professionals to amateurs, signed up to the “Musiciens du métro” label to perform underground. A stepping stone to fame that benefits Zaz, Claudio Capéo, and the Arcadian group in particular.
A crowded Parisian metro, immense pressure, a trip with a jog down the corridor and there, a musicologist sees the travellers. Over the 25 years and creation of the label, singers and musicians have performed underground. Some have become stars.
Zaz, Claudio Capéo or even the Arcadian group – who love line 12 – have hit the metro public, having won one of the 300 sesamees that are sent out every six months during auditions organized by the Paris city transport authority ( RATP).
About a thousand artists, from professionals to amateurs, signed up for the “Musiciens du métro” label, which was founded in 1997 to manage a permanent stream of singers and artists of all kinds, told AFP Stella Sainson, the label’s chief executive. “We reject nothing, even if a difficult instrument like a djembe resonates loudly”underscored Stella Sainson, supported by a jury of three members – all RATP employees – during the last session of the hearing.
Dressed in his dark gray suit but no jacket, Arnaud Moyencourt sits at his portable barrel organ. Putting it on the monopod, he turned the crank, unrolled the punched cardboard, singing Bobby Lapointe, one of his 400 titles. The man with the thick mustache came for renewal; his first time on the metro was in 1992. Since then, he has performed regularly at the Denfert-Rochereau station. “She’s character! It embodies the Paris of the past. I’ll stop”exclaimed one of the judges, Sofia Tondinelli. “You really have to imagine:“Will this person be appreciated by the public, his voice, his charisma?” It’s great to play in the metro, but it’s also tricky at times because people are passing by, stuck in their thoughts. It is important to know how to attract the attention of tourists.”
Camille Millian, long blonde braids and a blue dress, wooed the judges with a rendition of Whitney Houston’s song for renewal. “I’ve met crazy people, it’s one of my best scenes. Music is above all an exchange”, argued the Jura woman who worked in parallel on the creation of her album. Equally comfortable, Riana Rabe connected with her silky voice to the titles of Mulan and Radiohead while accompanying herself on an electroacoustic pink ukulele for her second audition. “Basically I’m a little afraid of people but I find that they are very kind when they are not there to hear me. Some have even told me they had a bad day and after listening to me it got better. It was incredible !”said a shy young woman who kept in touch with some of the metro passengers.
However, this challenge for some artists shouldn’t be a traumatic experience. “My goodness, he’s not ready yet!” started Stella Sainson and his band after the ukulele performance of a young girl who was very conscientious and somewhat new to the instrument. The jury also did not vote for the 28-year-old Chinese violinist, too hidden behind his large glasses and schoolboy appearance. But Eli Jadelot, who sings his own texts – humorously told stories of everyday life – dressed in a wedding dress, got Sesame for his first audition. Dominique, a worthy successor to her uncle in the musical saw, Ukrainian Anna Leonid Byulakh who plays the violin performs children’s jumps, Abram Lacoste, an analyst who gave up everything eight months ago for music, Hugo Vaxelaire and his traditional nyckelharpa instrument have validated their tickets for perform in metro corridors (trains and platforms are prohibited). Not to mention the tall blonde Tommy Garino, who ticks all the boxes to become a star and who started guitar by watching people play on the subway. “You could say we knew him in the RATP dungeons!”laughed one of the judges, Thomas Vitry.