Carmen was a British-American band active from 1970-1975. Their style was a fusion of rock music and flamenco music and dance. While the band achieved some success in recording and performance, its greatest significance lies in later contributions of its members to more famous rock groups.
The group was founded by David Clark Allen, a Mexican/American Californian trained in flamenco guitar. Originally a seven-member band in Los Angeles, USA, the band in the early seventies relocated to London, England, where the personnel soon stabilized as a quintet.
In London, they became friendly with several rock stars of the time, including David Bowie. Marc Bolan, and Bryan Ferry. Obtaining the services of producer Tony Visconti, Carmen released three albums: Fandangos in Space (1973), Dancing on a Cold Wind (1974), and The Gypsies (1975). By early 1975, the band was enjoying its greatest success, playing as an opening act at concerts by Santana, Blue Öyster Cult, and Electric Light Orchestra, and touring for three months as the opener for Jethro Tull. A series of unfortunate events then occurred while the group was recording The Gypsies at Longview Farm. Paul Fenton seriously damaged his knee, stopping his career as a drummer for many years. Carmen and Tony Visconti ended their musical relationship, and the band's manager left. Carmen disbanded shortly after finishing their last album in 1975.
Carmen's stage performances typically featured Amaral and Angela Allen dancing on a specially amplified stage floor, so that their flamenco zapateado became an integral part of the music. Additional Spanish influences in their sound included acoustic guitar interludes in flamenco style, occasional Spanish lyrics, themes of betrayed love reminiscent of Federico Garcia Lorca, and castanets, all supported by a traditional rock rhythm section.
David Clark Allen:
David Clark Allen continued to pursue a music career - working with Jack Nitzsche and playing guitar on a Michelle Phillips solo album, doing session flamenco style guitar on a Giorgio Moroder produced track, playing flamenco guitar in an episode of The Bionic Woman tv series, managed by Herb Cohen of Frank Zappa, Tom Waits and Alice Cooper notoriety, and writing songs for Agnetha of ABBA - Shame and Stay on 'Wrap Your Arms Around Me' and Heart Beats Stronger for Swedish duo Katz. In 1984, he was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent surgery. He then reinvented his life, earning much acclaim as a photographer and sexual anthropologist known as Housk Randall ( he has many published books including 'The Customised Body/Serpents Tail and Rituals of Love/Picador both in collaboration with Ted Polhemus. ), first working in the field of erotic anthropology and then as a black-and-white family portrait specialist in London.
The 2006 reissue of Carmen's three albums by Angelair was the catalyst for Allen's inspiration to make new music. Widescreen - his first album of music in 30 years - was released in the same package as The Gypsies and brought Allen into contact with producer and mixer Laurence Lush. The new album became the seed for a new band - Widescreen ( released album titled En Mi Vida, available on iTunes ), who eventually became Flamexicano!. David is now performing with his new Americana/Latino roots rock band, Papa Tigre!.
Glascock joined Jethro Tull in 1975, and Angela Allen, his romantic partner at the time, contributed backing vocals on Tull's recording Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!. Their relationship ended shortly after, and in 1979, at the age of 28, Glascock's life sadly was cut short due to complications caused by a congenital heart condition.
Angela Allen has relocated to LA and still continues to sing. She contributed vocals for the Widescreen album.
Paul Fenton was badly injured in a fall from a horse around the time of Carmen's break-up. He had already built a career for himself as a drummer outside of Carmen, in particular working with Marc Bolan's T-Rex; later, he went on to play in a Bolan tribute band.
Roberto Amaral, who currently resides in Van Nuys, California, has continued to create music as a singer, songwriter and producer. At the same time, he has established himself as the leading flamenco teacher/choreographer in Southern California. After over 30 years, his dance companies Fuego Flamenco and Espana clasica continue to received public and critical acclaim. He is currently collaborating on writing the book and musical score for an original stage play incorporating flamenco dance. He has also formed a production company called Delicia Music.
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