As many people have heard, Christopher Tin, Stanford Alum, recently won a Grammy for his song Baba Yetu.
It’s an amazing song, with lyrics translating to the Our Father prayer in Swahili. It was released on his 2009 album named Calling All Dawns. But it first gained note as the main theme song to Civilization IV in 2005. It may have taken the world 6 years to uncover this gem, but some PC gamers have appreciated the song for quite a while now. Isn’t that a shame?
This song only gained admission to the Grammy process because it was a part of Tin’s album. The game that it was associated with was not mentioned in any form at the Grammy’s. It’s not surprising – no matter how amazing the opening song is, it’s still only a video game. But hopefully this will make music aficionados take a second look at this scores produced for video games.
I’ve been playing video games since I knew how to use my thumbs. And something I’ve learned over the years, is that just like the gameplay, plot, and story, the music is an integral part of a gamer’s experience. That’s why game developers, who spend years on graphics and gameplay, sometimes hire whole orchestras to set the tone of their masterpiece. And when someone puts that much time and thought into a scores creation, how can it be ignored on the basis that its “just a game” or a part of one?
Mario’s theme song is just as memorable as the Italian Plumber himself:
And gamer’s young and old can recognize Link’s theme song:
(Jump to 3:10 to hear the more recognizable part of the song)
Baba Yetu is inspiring – just as inspiring as Civilization is meant to be. It takes a player through the past and the future of mankind. That’s no small undertaking. The video game community recognizes the importance of a score in the overall presentation of a game. Baba Yetu deserved the Grammy. With so many other amazing theme songs out there, I’m hoping it soon won’t be so amazing that any song tied a video game is honored at the venerated music awards ceremony.