Alí Rafael Primera Rosell was a musician, composer, poet, and Venezuelan political activist. He was born in Coro, Falcón State, Venezuela on October 31, 1942 and died in Caracas on February 16, 1985. He was one of the best known representatives of Nueva canción ("new song") in Venezuela - his songs "condemning exploitation and repression, and celebrating resistance, struck a chord among a wide public," and he is known in Venezuela as El Cantor del Pueblo (The People's Singer). In 2005 the Venezuelan government declared his music to be national heritage.
Alí Primera was baptized as Rafael Sebastián Primera Rosell by his parents Antonio Primera and Carmen Adela Rossell; he was known as Alí because his grandparents were Arabs. Poor from the start, he lost his father when he was three. His father, who served as an official in Coro, died accidentally during a shooting incident that occurred when some prisoners tried to escape from the jail in town in 1945. As Primera was still quite young when his father died, he travelled with his mother and 2 siblings through different towns on the Paraguaná Peninsula, including San José, Caja de Agua, where he graduated from elementary school; Las Piedras and finally, La Vela, near Punto Fijo. It was in this town that Primera worked a number of jobs, from a shoeshiner at the age of 6 to a boxer, due to the miserable conditions his family lived in. These jobs did not, however, discourage him from continuing his studies.