Baba Yetu is a Grammy award winning soundtrack from the Civilization IV video game. Christopher Tin created the musical score for Baba Yetu (which means “Our Father” in Swahili) as the theme song for Civilization IV — released in 2005. The song was first performed and recorded by Ron Ragin and the Stanford Talisman (a Stanford University a capella group). This rendition (the official music video, shown above) features the powerful voices of the Soweto Gospel Choir accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It was the #1 track on Christopher Tin’s “Calling All Dawns” album.
Baba Yetu Lyrics
The lyrics are written and sung in the Swahili language (also known as Kiswahili) — which is a common language spoken in east Africa.
“Baba Yetu” is translated into English as “Our Father“. Baba = dad, daddy, father / yetu = our. The Swahili word baba is similar to the Arabic, Aramaic and Hebrew words for father: abba or aba.
The lyrics to this popular song and video game soundtrack are based on the Lord’s Prayer. A rough translation (with repetition omitted): “Our father, who are in heaven – let us glorify your name. Give us today our food. We need you to forgive us our errors (sin), as we forgive those who did us wrong. Keep us from falling in trials, and save us for ever and ever. Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth, as in heaven. Amen.”
What Will Your Civilization Stand For?
The video game creators ask the question: “What will your civilization stand for?” The Civilization game series was conceived with the grandiose vision of simulating the rise and fall of nations. It’s a lesson in nation building for children — who might grow up to be great leaders one day. The music video is filled with iconic historical images from around the globe — as portrayed in the video game.
As nations rise and fall, we see the pyramids of Egypt, the great wall of China, and move quickly forward to the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. The mighty Roman empire is seen in all it’s glory, but quickly fades from view as other nations rise up. In conclusion, as the music fades, we are left to ponder important questions: What kind of civilization am I building? What makes a nation great? Why do kingdoms rise and fall?
What People Are Saying
“This song feels like it was made for humanity.”
“When the music swells as the Statue of Liberty lights up — it gets me every time. “
“The amount of hours of my life that I lost on this game… Worth every minute!”
“When you can come back to a song multiple times and get shivers after you keep listening to it — you know it’s a masterpiece.”
If you enjoyed Baba Yetu Civilization, you might also enjoy other ‘world music’ videos like Skald viking music, or Last of the Mohicans.