Baba Yetu

Choral Spectacular 2023!
April 22 &23, 2023

Civilization IV
“Baba Yetu”
Christopher Tin

 The song “Baba Yetu” is in the Swahii language, and means “Our Father.” Joyful and highly rhythmic, it’s a festive celebration of the Lord’s Prayer, and features tenor soloist Carlos Chapman. It’s actually the title song from the 2005 video game “Civilization IV,” and won a GRAMMY for composer Christopher Tin in 2011 in the category “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s),” It has since gained popularity as a choral work for  concert performance by choirs around the world, and is just one example of the increasing acceptance of video game music on the concert stage. 

In October of 2015, the Wall Street Journal ran an article entitled “How Video Games Are Saving the Symphony Orchestra.” The main thrust of the article was that several orchestras today are programming video game music to attract larger and younger audiences. Many of the better video games today use recordings of live orchestras playing original music by established composers to accompany the action on the screen. Popular games such as “The Legend of Zelda,” “Halo,” “Final Fantasy VII,” “Doom,” the “Civilization” series, and many others, have soundtracks that are popular with young people and are well suited for symphony orchestras. As gaming music becomes more “legitimate,” it is being recognized by a growing number of established institutions, in addition to symphony orchestras. Several colleges and universities now offer majors in composing music for video games, some classical FM radio stations include gaming music on their playlists, and a new GRAMMY category was added this year called “Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media.” (The winner this year was Stephanie Economou for her soundtrack to a new addition to “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.”) There is even an orchestra in Boston dedicated to playing only video game music. 

Christopher Tin has been a fan of the “Civilization” series for years, a game in which players compete in building civilizations from a few people in 4000 BCE to a whole world in 2100 CE. We can expect to hear more video game music in coming seasons as it takes its place on the concert stage alongside film and symphonic music. In the meantime, sit back, relax, and enjoy this rousing performance of “Baba Yetu” by CHICO and five choirs!

-Dr. Ted Lucas

Christopher Tin

Christopher Tin is a two-time Grammy-winning composer. His music has been performed and premiered in many of the world’s most prestigious venues–Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the United Nations–and by ensembles diverse as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Metropole Orkest, and US Air Force Band. His song “Baba Yetu”, originally written for the video game Civilization IV, holds the distinction of being the first piece of music written for a video game ever to win a Grammy Award. He is signed to an exclusive record deal with Universal under their legendary Decca label, published by Concord and Boosey & Hawkes, and is a Yamaha Artist. He works out of his own custom-built studio in Santa Monica, CA.