Back in 2005, I was asked by a former college roommate to write the theme song for a video game called Civilization IV. Six years later that song won me two GRAMMY awards. It’s been a long and unusual journey, but one that ultimately led me to the joy of holding a GRAMMY statue . . . and the joy of sharing that experience with high school students as well.
“Baba Yetu” is a setting of The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili, scored for soloists, mixed chorus, percussion, and an explosive orchestral accompaniment. And even though it was written for a video game, the song gradually took on a life of its own outside of the gaming community. Video Games Live, a touring concert of video game music performed by live orchestra, added the song to its repertoire and premiered it at the Hollywood Bowl. Shortly thereafter, Alfred Music Publishing released a choral octavo of the song, which quickly became one of their most popular publications. Soon I was getting fan mail from around the world, and watching my song appear in places as far off as the Dubai Fountain and the opening ceremonies of the World Games in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
But perhaps the most fun experience of all has been seeing the hundreds of YouTube videos of amateur performances and covers of my song. Ranging from the brilliant to the downright bizarre (but always well-intended), I’m always touched to see people so engaged with my music.
Even better than watching people’s performances on YouTube, however, is the experience of meeting the performers face-to-face. I’ve had the good fortune to be able to attend a few concerts given by schools that were performing my music. And ever since the GRAMMYs, I’ve brought one of my statues along with me to share with the students.
I can only hope that the opportunity to hold a GRAMMY statue might change their lives in some small way. Who knows—maybe some will be inspired to pursue their own musical dreams, and someday win their own GRAMMY. When they do, I hope that they bring it with them whenever they visit a school, too.
Note from the Editor:
Alfred is now proud to publish two different choral editions of “Baba Yetu” as follows:
1. 00-27827 – for SSATBB voices and piano (SoundTrax CD w/orchestra 00-27828)
Orchestration to accompany the SSATBB choral #00-27827 is now available by rental. Click HERE for more information.
A vocal solo/piano edition is also available (00-37765).
Visit christophertin.com for more information and additional photos.