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Charisma, originality and humility: who are the metro musicians?


REPORT - Out of a thousand annual applications, only 300 artists are selected to pass the RATP casting which will allow them to perform in the underground corridors of Paris.

Under the canopy of the Les Halles shopping center in Paris, at the Hip-Hop cultural center, several groups will follow one another on the small stage set up for the occasion, the sober decor of which is flocked in the colors of the RATP.

That evening, six of them auditioned to be able to play there, where

“people didn't come to listen to music

,” says Edgard, whose group Muddy Po Boys is trying its luck.

"The days when you earn 20 euros, it's a good day

," he says.

On Tuesday March 21, the Paris metro company recruited the musicians who will jostle with passengers in the Paris underground.

“I want to rub shoulders with this audience that I'm going to have to convince, I think it's a unique experience and a scene where the requirement is very high”

, explains Lémofil after his performance.

The 23-year-old artist defines himself as a poetic rapper.

He identifies with Gael Faye and is inspired by Brel or Barbara, his family heritage.

"I'm going to perform very theatrical performances, I want to create encounters to feed my writing, we'll see if it takes

," he adds.

A little earlier, the evening had been launched by the cheerful "boy band" of the Muddy Po Boys.

The five friends in flower shirts set the mood with their funk rhythms.

Their leader, Edgard, is a regular on the metro, which circulates according to his musical desires and underground encounters.

“I played in a duet with a friend for a long time, but this new project appealed to me

,” he explains.

According to him, to succeed in the corridors,

“you must not hesitate to get started


In the metro, people pass by without necessarily stopping and sometimes we are carried away by the reaction of the passengers”.

Read also“Les Musiciens du métro” are twenty years old and make the Olympia vibrate

Two pieces to convince

The artists had two pieces to convince a jury like no other.

Usually, this is made up of RATP staff.

This time it's professional.

And chaired by Joyce Jonathan whom Stella Sainson, head of the Metro Musicians label created in 1997, had contacted on social networks.

Alongside the singer, the other members of the jury are entertainment professionals.

The key: a card to play in the underground corridors of Paris and, for one of them, a place on the stage of the Lollapalooza festival which takes place from July 21 to 23.

One of the missions of the RATP is also to allow these artists to be spotted.

In the metro, the Muddy Po Boys will alternate between personal compositions and well-known covers.

Amélie Com / Le Figaro

For this audition, Stella Sainson has chosen the profiles she considers the most promising.

Not all of them are regulars and want to put themselves in danger in front of this very special audience.

This is the case of Kdessa.

The singer came down from the stage to confront herself in the basement.

“It's a new challenge, and I want to bring my little musical touch to me

,” she explains.

In front of the jury, she interpreted in Manjaque, a dialect of Guinea-Bissau her mother tongue, a personal composition.

Read alsoIn London, a sound collector intends to record the era

Charisma and a bit of originality

Others have decided to return to the metro.

Yaya Minte played there for a long time.

He also sang in the streets.

His crystalline voice, his guitar and his cajon traveled from Montmartre, to Bordeaux via Italy.

Today he is recognized as an artist and signed to the label, Think Zik,

"the same as Imani's"

, he says proudly.

“But it's interesting to come back to basics in the street or in the metro

,” explains the musician.

Every six months, subway musicians have to re-cast.

Stella Sainson receives about a thousand application files, from which about 300 are selected.

To be the criteria are quite flexible:

"What counts above all is the charisma and a little originality"

, explains the head of the label.

Without this card, anyone playing on the metro risks a fine of 150 euros.

“They are forbidden to play in the trains and they have to choose a location that does not hinder the good circulation of users”

, explains Stella Sainson.

This audition launched the spring cycle.

About ten sessions are organized twice a year.

At the end of the casting, everyone gets the sesame that will allow them to perform in the winding corridors of Châtelet, Gare de Lyon or Concorde.

Rapper Lémofil won a performance at the Lollapalooza festival.

“It's far too big for an emerging project.

I'm going to play in the same festival as

Kendrick Lamar ,

says the artist, who for the moment especially wants to celebrate his victory.

Source: lefigaro

All life articles on 2023-03-23

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