A crowded Parisian metro, an overwhelming pressure, a journey at a run in the corridors and there, a virtuoso of the musical saw seizes the travelers.
For 25 years and the creation of a label, singers and musicians have been performing underground.
Some have become stars.
Zaz, Claudio Capéo or even the Arcadian group - fond of line 12 - have made their ranges in front of the public of the metro, after having won one of the 300 sesames delivered every six months during auditions organized by the transport authority urban Parisians (RATP).
About a thousand artists, from professional to amateur, register in search of the label "Musiciens du métro", set up in 1997 in order to manage the permanent flow of singers and performers of all kinds, explains to AFP Stella Sainson, head of the label.
"We don't deny ourselves anything, even if there are difficult instruments like the djembe which resonates loudly"
, underlines Stella Sainson, supported by a three-member jury - all RATP employees - during the last audition session. .
Dressed in his dark gray suit but without the jacket, Arnaud Moyencourt settles in with his portable barrel organ.
Putting it on a monopod, he turns the crank, unrolling the perforated cardboard, singing Bobby Lapointe, one of the 400 titles he has.
The man with the dense mustache comes for a renewal;
his very first time in the metro was in 1992. Since then, he has performed regularly at the Denfert-Rochereau station.
"He's a character!
It embodies the Paris of yesteryear.
I would stop”
, enthuses a juror, Sofia Tondinelli.
“You really have to imagine:
“is this person going to be appreciated by the public, his voice, his charisma”.
It's very nice to be able to play in the metro, but also sometimes complicated because people pass by, caught up in their thoughts.
It is important to know how to capture the attention of travelers”.
Camille Millian, long blonde braid and blue dress, grabbed the jury by performing a song by Whitney Houston for a renewal.
"I've met crazy people, it's one of my best scenes.
Music is above all an exchange”
, argues the Jurassian who is working in parallel on the creation of her album.
Equally at ease, Riana Rabe connects with her suave voice a title of Mulan and Radiohead while accompanying herself with an electroacoustic pink ukulele for her second audition.
“Basically I'm a little afraid of people but I discovered that they were extremely nice when they weren't there to listen to me.
Some even told me that they had had a bad day and that after listening to me, it was better.
, says the shy young woman who has kept in touch with some metro passengers.
This challenge for some artists should not, however, become a traumatic experience.
"Oh poor thing, she's not ready!"
start Stella Sainson and her band after the performance on the ukulele of a young girl who is particularly discreet and rather new to the instrument.
The jury also did not select a 28-year-old Chinese violinist, too hidden behind her large glasses and her schoolgirl look.
But Eli Jadelot, who sings his own texts - stories of daily life told funny - dressed in a wedding dress, got his sesame for his very first audition.
Dominique, a worthy successor to his uncle at the musical saw, the Ukrainian Anna Leonid Byulakh who plays the violin while doing goat jumps, Abram Lacoste, an analyst who left everything eight months ago for music,
Hugo Vaxelaire and his traditional instrument nyckelharpa have validated their ticket to perform in the corridors of the metro (trains and platforms are prohibited).
Not to mention the tall blond Tommy Garino, who ticks all the boxes to become a star and who started the guitar by seeing people playing in the subway.
“We can say that we knew him in the basements of the RATP!”
, laughs one of the jurors, Thomas Vitry.