6 great Cuban love songs

Flavio Garciandia de Oraá All you need is love, 1975, 150 x 250 cm, MNBA collection

Did Cubans invent the love song? Many great love songs of undying love, or loss of love, use the musical form the Bolero, invented in eastern Cuba in the 19th century and recognised as National Cultural Heritage in 2021.

Here are some really old and some not so old great love songs…


The great singer and band leader Benny More (24 August 1919 – 19 February 1963) sings his best known bolero, Como Fue. English translation of the lyrics below.

How was it
I can not tell you how it was
I can not explain what happened
but I fell in love with you
It was a light
that illuminated my whole being
your laugh like a spring
I watered my restless life
Was it your eyes or your mouth
Was it your hands or your voice
it was perhaps impatience
from waiting for your arrival
More I do not know
I can not tell you how it was
I can not explain what happened
but I fell in love with you


Composed and sang by Pablo Milanes and GESI (Sound experimentation group at ICAIC)

From 1975, actually a song for his baby daughter


The late, great singer of romantic ballads Elena Burke (28 February 1928 – 9 June 2002) sings La Gloria eres tu (you are the glory) .


A song that starts as a bolero and ends as a son montuno – composed by Miguel Matamoros in 1929 and first recorded by Trio Matamoros in 1931.

This version filmed/recorded in 2007 on the streets of Cuba has been viewed more than 40 million times on youtube but is a great version.


Sang and composed by nueva trova singer Vicente Feliu, who died at the age of 74 suddenly in December 2021. This was his most well known anthemic song. “Trust me that love scares me…trust me that I am who I am and belong to no-one”.


Sang by the great Omara Portuondo, the queen of ‘feeling’ on top form, in love and pleasing to be kissed.