15 January 2014

Carmela Corren

Israeli-born singer and actress Carmela Corren (1938) represented Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest 1963 with her song Vielleicht Geschieht Ein Wunder. In the early 1960s she starred in several Schlager- and Heimatfilms in Austria end Germany.

Carmela Corren
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/184. Photo: A. Grimm / Ariola.

A Desert Rose

Carmela Corren was born Carmela Bizman in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1938. She dreamed of being a dancer but switched to singing in the wake of an injury.

The American television producer Ed Sullivan discovered her in 1956 during a work venture in Jerusalem. Carmela, just out of military service in the Israeli army, was persuaded to come to New York to appear on his show. Carmela toured South Africa with Cliff Richard and sang in English clubs.

In the early 1960s, she became well known in Germany, as well as Switzerland and in Austria with her song Sei nicht traurig, geliebte Mama (You're Not Losing A Daughter, Mama). In 1961, this song stayed for 12 weeks in the German charts. First she had signed to the Ariola label, in 1966 she moved to Vogue and in 1968 she changed again to Decca.

In 1962 she became 8th at the Deutsche Schlagerfestspiele (German Schlager festival) with the song Eine Rose aus Santa Monica (A Rose from Santa Monica). Although the jury gave it only one point, the public loved her song. It climbed several European charts and stayed there for many weeks.

The festival was won by Conny Froboess with Zwei Kleiner Italiener (Two Little Italians), who represented Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest that year. In 1963 Carmela represented Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest in London with her song Vielleicht Geschieht Ein Wunder (Maybe A Miracle Will Happen) and finished seventh. The song was composed by Erwin Halletz and Peter Wahle.

In 1965 she tried again to join the Eurovision Song Contest, now for Switzerland. She lost the national finals though, and that year Switzerland was represented by Yovanna.

Carmela Corren
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, Minden/Westf., no. 1792. Photo: Ariola / Haenchen.

Schlager Films and Heimat Comedies

In Germany and Austria, Carmela Corren starred in several films and television productions. Her film debut was in the Schlagerfilm Tanze mit mir in den Morgen/Dance with Me Into the Morning (Peter Dörre, 1962) with singers Rex Gildo and Evi Kent.

Carmella then appeared in the Heimat comedy Drei Liebesbriefe aus Tirol/Three Love Letters from Tyrol (Werner Jacobs, 1962) starring Danish actress Ann Smyrner, and she appeared as a singer in a bar in the crime film Zwischen Schanghai und St. Pauli/Between Shanghai and St. Pauli (Roberto Bianchi Montero, Wolfgang Schleif, 1962) starring Karin Baal and Joachim Hansen.

She played supporting parts in the mountain drama Sein bester Freund/His best Friend (Luis Trenker, 1962) starring former ski champion Toni Sailer, and in Sing, aber spiel nicht mit mir/Sing But Don’t Play With Me (Kurt Nachmann, 1963) starring Hannelore Auer.

Her last film appearance was in the romantic comedy Hochzeit am Neusiedler See/Wedding at Lake Neusiedler (Rolf Olsen, 1963) with Udo Jürgens.

From 1966 to 1970 Carmela was married to the music producer Horst Geiger, with whom she had a daughter and a son.

She kept singing in TV shows but she also worked as an actress. She was seen in the TV musical Das Leben ist die größte Schau/Life is the Biggest Show (Hans Eberhard, 1964) and in the TV series Das Kriminalmuseum/The Crime Museum (1967).

In 1972 she recorded an LP with folk songs, Folklore Festival, but it was not a success. She went to America to start a new career, but failed. She retired after a come-back attempt with the LP Hava Naghila (1978).

Carmela Corren remarried and lives now with her husband in Florida. In rare cases, she sings at Jewish festivals.

Carmela Corren
Dutch card by Heinz Franssen, Simpelveld.

Clip of Carmela Corren singing Vielleicht Geschieht Ein Wunder at the European Song Contest 1963. Source: Joao Velada (YouTube).

Sources: René Kern (Carmela Corren Website) (German), De Duitse Schlager in Nederland en België (Dutch), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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