Does Anyone Know the Song "Fair Cuba"?

Nancy wrote asking for help with a song called, "Fair Cuba":

When I was in middle school, I learned a song called "Fair Cuba,"  I have not heard it since, but am interested in finding the lyrics, and if possible, guitar chords to this song.  I found one site that had an abbreviated version of two verses, but no chorus:

Fair Cuba
Sits enthroned in an ocean of light
Where the dawn comes in splendor
And the stars in the night
Shine with radiance bright
Shine with radiance bright.

Are her fields and her forests of green
And the beauty they lend her
Oh fair Cuba tis thee
Land of flowers and of trees
Land of flowers and of trees.

I remember it ending with "Fairest Cuba is queen".  Has anyone else heard of this song, or have more information?  Nancy

If anyone can help with the song "Fair Cuba", please comment below.


Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 at 4:35 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Cuba, England, English, Languages, Questions, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

30 Responses to “Does Anyone Know the Song "Fair Cuba"?”

  1. CQ Says:

    Last night I actually bought at auction a song book that has this song. I loved this song as a 5th or 6th grader, it sounded so exotic. If you email me, I can send you a PDF of the music and lyrics. I don’t know who did what but the two names associated with the song are Allan Shaw (left top) and Eduardo de Fuentes (arranged) (right top). Here are the complete lyrics:

    Fair Cuba sits enthroned in an ocean of light
    Where the dawn comes in splendor
    And the stars of the night
    Shine with radiance bright; Shine with radiance bright.

    Enchanting are her fields and her forests of green,
    And the glory they lend her;
    Of all tropical isles
    Fairest Cuba is queen, Fairest Cuba is queen!

    We greet thee Cuba, land of flowers and of song!
    The happy birds awake and they praises prolong.
    O isle of Cuba, how they sweet, tender calm
    Healtheth all weary souls with its balm,
    With its magical balm. We greet thee . .

    The palm trees bow in greeting, while soft breezes blow,
    And the cane brakes are swaying.
    See the maize, row on row,
    All its tassles aglow, All its tassels aglow!

    In country and in city where’er voices rise,
    Hear the words they are saying:
    “We will praise our fair isle;
    Lift her name to the skies, Lift her name to the skies!”

    Chorus (repeat)

  2. ileshanti Says:

    I was born in Syracuse, New York in 1950. We were taught the melody and word to this truly incredible and beautiful song. The year was 1958, the place was Edward Smith Elementary School… it was music class. I fell in love with the song. I know the melody… it will forever reside as one of the treasures of my being(heart)… I wish all the political bulls**t would stop and people would just start loving each other..,. Thanks for this forum… Thanks for not publishing my details though I am not ashamed, ever, to appreciate beauty and to love… Ilesha…

  3. John Swindle Says:

    I also remember it from childhood and came here looking for it. I see now that it’s the habanera “Tú”, by Eduardo Sánchez de Fuentes. There are versions available on YouTube. Look for “habanera tu” or “la habanera tu” or “eduardo sanchez de fuentes”.

  4. Pat Miller Says:

    I remember singing this song in elementary school in Detroit back in the 50’s.
    After Castro took over we weren’t allowed to sing it anymore.

  5. Lisa Says:

    According to this site, this song is sung to the tune of the Cuban National Anthem. Listen to the tune here as played by the US Navy Band.

    Is this the tune that you all sang the song to?

  6. John Swindle Says:

    I don’t know how to make a proper link, but the tune I remember is more like this.

  7. ileshanti Says:

    I learned the English version (Fair Cuba) of the song ‘La habanera Tu’. Thanks for all the help in finally locating this famous song/melodi… I’m sure i’ll find it being performed all over the Fair Island… peace to all…

  8. Susan Mangus Says:

    I just “googled” the lyrics for this song – what a shock to see the comment above posted by ileshanti – I am 64, grew up in Syracuse NY, and I also sang this song in Edward Smith Elementary School in Syracuse NY in 1958. I remember our music teacher was an elderly lady and she adored this song – we sang it lots of times! The current (Dec. 2014) situation with Cuba and the opening of borders got me thinking of this song which I remember well !!

  9. ileshanti Says:

    Hi Susan Mangus… I was (and still am Bobby Todd)… I may have the year wrong Could have been 59 or 60. We used to live on the 600 block of Cumberland Avenue. What was the music teachers name. We used to walk to school passing Dales Market and a cancy store called Aeggies or some such thing. Maybe your last name wasn’t Mangus? (i live in Denmark now:)

    My wife, and my two sisters are tentatively planning a trip to Cuba this summer…
    Thanks for sharing. .. My sisters are named Mary and Susan. I have a big brother nicknamed Binky… now he prefers to be called Binks… all sophisticated:)

  10. Melody Doubleday Says:

    I also learned this song in 5th or 6th grade music class. That was in Redwood City, California in 1954 or ’55. I’ve been looking for the lyrics for a long time; even attempted to research the Library of Congress. So I am very thankful to have found the lyrics here, and really enjoyed singing Fair Cuba to my roommate. It’s such a beautiful song: It lifts my heart just to sing it. Thank you.

  11. Gloria Petit-Clair Says:

    I loved this song. We sang it in junior high school, late 1950’s in Newark, NJ. We also sang the round, “Olive Trees are Standing.” Most kids were 1st generations and we sang with enormous gusto! It was a great memory. Thank you for this site.

  12. Nancy Ashbaugh Says:

    Thank you so much. I have been looking for this information for a long time. I also sang this beautiful song in 6th grade.

    The melody I remember is the one posted by John Swindle.

  13. Janice Misurell-Mitchell Says:

    Remembering along with Gloria Petit-Clair about our music class in Ivy Jr. High. We had Mrs. Turpin, who played piano really well as we sang. We would overdo parts of both songs, singing “We greet thee Cuba” deliberately loud (the guys sang out of tune on purpose, to emphasize that it was out of their range). In “Olive Tries are Standing” we would emphasize the “ing”, making it into a kind of rhumba. And as others have mentioned, there was one day when we asked to sing “Fair Cuba” and Mrs. Turpin said, ‘No, we’re not going to sing that anymore.”

  14. Charmagne Guida Says:

    I am 69 years old and learned this in 7th grade when I was 11. Unbeknownst to me I married a Cubano , born in La Habana and immigrated to the US when he was 10. I always loved this song.

  15. DianaJJ Says:

    I learned this song in Music class in 1959 in Lincoln Jr. High-Wyandotte, Mi. I came home singing this and my father became VERY angry. He said ” what are they teaching you in that school”. I didn’t really understand much of what he was referring to at that time. I never sang it around him after that.

  16. Alice P. Clark Says:

    My brother, who was 3 years ahead of me and I attended Banneker Jr. High School in Washington, DC in the early 50’s. We both sang this song. Mrs. Simms and Mrs. Douglass were the music teachers at the time.

  17. Barbara Gapmann Says:

    I live in Montreal, Canada, and certainly do remember singing Fair Cuba in Grade 7 at Willingdon school, back in 1961. Our music teacher was Mrs. Connell. I never forgot the melody, and still enjoy playing it on the piano from time to time. Nice to rediscover the lyrics too!

  18. Jamia Says:

    We sang it in the early 60’s at Roswell Kent Jr High in Akron, Ohio. Beautifully haunting melody. I’ll be traveling to Cuba in May and have been thinking of the song quite a bit.

  19. Jerry Wagner Says:

    We sang this in the mid 1950s at Otjen school in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I still remember most of the words, and always loved the melody.

  20. John Cowles Says:

    We sang this song in Hancock, Md in 1956. I still remember all the words!

  21. Romola Georgia Says:

    I learned this song in the 6th Grade at Oakton School in Evanston, Illinois (about 1955). I always loved the song and could hear the melody in my mind it though I mis-remembered some of the lyrics. I so admired the exotic and energetic choral teacher who insisted that we pronounce “Cuba” in the Spanish way – “coo-bah.” Thanks so much for these postings!

  22. Greg Fitzgerald Says:

    I too learned this song in 1957 or 1958, at Ben Hill Elementary School in Atlanta GA USA. I have looked for it before online but not found it, so am really happy to find this page and others’ comments.

  23. Tiffany Says:

    Thank you CQ and John Swindle!!! I have been looking for this song FOREVER! I learned it in 8th grade in the early 80s in Bethesda, Maryland :)

  24. Vicki Says:

    I was just at my book club this morning discussing a book set in Cuba. For some reason, “Fair Cuba” popped into my head. I loved this beautiful song that I learned in grade 7 in 1955 at Abbott Junior High School in Elgin, Illinois. The lyrics described such a beautiful, exotic setting to me, and the melody still haunts me to this day. I asked my fellow book club members if any of them had sung this song in the ’50’s, but none of them had ever heard of it. I am happy to have a refresher on the lyrics, but I am amazed that I remembered as much of them as I had. Thank you for this post. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane!

  25. Beverly Schueller Says:

    We used to sing this song frequently at Goodrich Jr. High School in Akron, Ohio. I was in the 7th and 8th grades, around 1960-61. It is a melody that has always stuck with me, and I can still remember some of the lyrics. So happy to find this site because I wanted to refresh my memory on the words. It’s so interesting to me that we could sing this song at a time, when Cuba, I am sure, would never sing a song about the U.S.A. in their classrooms. It’s wonderful to live in a country that allows us such freedoms. This is a song I will always remember. The melody and lyrics are so beautiful.

  26. Wayne Arthur Says:

    That’s funny if this is the same song, our music teacher use to play a song on the piano and we’d sing along. That was back in 61-62 but I thought the name was “We Greet Thee Cuba.” All I can remember is part of the first verse and I’m pretty sure it went, “we greet thee cuba, land of flowers and song …” I cannot remember the rest but that was the beginning of the song. I don’t know if these songs are one of the same. But I too have part of the lyrics and tune in my head and wish I could hear the whole song again. Undoubtedly the song was made before Castro took over.

  27. Ron Hurwitz Says:

    I remember singing that song in the late 1950’s at Edward Smith School. Hopefully, this song will regain popularity when its current government gets overthrown!

  28. Gregory J Kenney Says:

    I also remember that song. I was in gramma school too. Maybe fourth or fifth grade.

  29. gale Says:

    Pat Miller from Detroit….. Did you go to Hampton? I have the same memory and yes, it was banned after Castro took over.

  30. Sandra Says:

    We sang this at Daniel Webster Junior High in Waukegan, IL. I went there 1959-1961. It was our favorite, most-requested song. Our teacher was Mr. Grace! It truly is a beautiful song!!
    And oh, the last line ended….”We greet thee, balm!”

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