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. In 1960, Primera and his family left La Vela looking for a better life and moved to Caracas, where he enrolled in the “Liceo Caracas” in order to complete his education. After he graduated in 1964, he enrolled at the Central University of Venezuela to study Chemistry at the School of Science. While at the university, he started singing and composing music.
At first, it was a just a hobby for him, but it gradually came to take up all of his time. His first songs, Humanidad and No basta rezar, the latter of which was presented at the Festival of Protest Songs organized by the Universidad de los Andes in 1967, propelled him to fame. Between 1969 and 1973, Primera lived in Europe thanks to a scholarship he was received in 1968 from the Communist Party of Venezuela to continue his studies in Romania. Once in Europe, he earned a living by washing dishes and occasionally sang in places that respected his work. He recorded his first album Gente de mi tierra in a studio in Germany.
Primera’s compositions talk about the suffering of the people, destroyed by poverty and social inequality. Because of his songs, he quickly made his way into the hearts of the people and soon became known as El Cantor del Pueblo or The People’s Singer. Primera died in a car accident on February 16, 1985 on the Autopista Valle-Coche in Caracas. Before his death, Alí Primera had started a new album at the end of 1984 that combined the recurring themes of his songs with beats that he had never used before such as the gaita from Zulia in Venezuela. Even though the Venezuelan government declared in 2005 his music to be national property, the reality is that the rights to his albums were turned over years ago to the now defunct Venezuelan record company Top Hits, which was acquired by the Mexican record company Balboa Records. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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