tagryn (tagryn) wrote,

"Baba Yetu" (Lord's Prayer in Swahili)

This is one of the best songs I've heard in a long time. Its a choral arrangement of The Lord's Prayer into Swahili.

It has a somewhat-interesting backstory: it was originally composed by Christopher Tan for Sid Meier's video game "Civilization IV" back in 2005, but it has expanded well beyond the video gaming audience into general choir use since then, if YouTube is any indication. I was introduced to it from a CD my brother gave me last Christmas titled "Video Games Live" (which is also interesting, as its a touring group and choir which does a whole show performing themes from popular video games, some of which like Baba Yetu are quite intricate.) The CD contains a suite from CivIV, including BY.

A few YouTube videos to give it a listen to. This one is translated with lyrics, so you can see how the translation works.
It also has very nice imagery to go with the song:

My only complaint with that version is that the volume is a little too oversampled, espec. in the intro. These are "cleaner" versions,
but without the imagery and lyrics:
MP3 version:

And, the full CivIV suite from the Video Games Live CD & show:
live versions:
This is very short (1:00) but probably my favorite version of CivIV live by VGL, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the soloist:
The opening video displayed on the background screen in the life show can be found under "samples" at the composer's website, http://www.tinworksmusic.com/

composer's blog:

sidenote: Youtube comments are a funny thing...for one of those videos, the whole thread is dominated by a discussion about whether non-native singers should be attempting to sign in Swahili at all, while another is a full-fledged flamefest between atheists about how difficult it is for them to appreciate the song once they know its translation, and Christians arguing back. Depressing, but not surprising; a video of a commercial I uploaded has over 12,000 hits, but also has attracted a lot of extremely misogynistic comments from viewers. sigh.
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