Sunday, August 2

Amazing song: Baba Yetu

You will want to listen to this song if you 1) love beautiful music in general, especially 2) choral music with #) an African sound that, to me, at least, is 4) very worshipful.

Ok, the first thing to say, in light of the research is that, as much as I love this song, I'm embarrassed I didn't clue to the lyrics being from the Lord's Prayer. I mean, I know some Swahili. I know 'Baba' is 'Father' and 'milele' is forever. Sheesh :-)

Here's a nice version to listen to (watching the video is optional):

LOVE the way the song adds to a melodic opening hum: soloist with drum: women's voices in unison: soloist with choir hum: expanded percussion with choir in four parts (it's this second chorus that gives me chills, especially the descending bass line): expanding orchestration in the bridge: maximum chorus with prominent violins and chimes/marimba (?): beautiful, understated outro.

After Googling, here are some posts about 'Baba Yetu':

Civilization IV Music: WOW! (2nd Update), including nice email exchange with the composer

Early post on CivFanatics about the lyrics (to be perfectly honest, I do read this website sometimes ;-)

The guy's first stab is a little rough (and very impressive) since he doesn't know any Swahili.

Then a native speaker comes in and cleans up a little.

Then the original poster adds a basic chord chart.

There are a couple videos on YouTube with subtitles, but, unfortunately, they used the original stab.

The composer is Christopher Tin. Among other things, Baba Yetu is one of the bestselling sheets of choral music for Alfred Publishing. It has been performed live at the Hollywood Bowl and the Kennedy Center.

Albert compares it to the Main Title for the new Battlestar Galactica, which I also love:

Ok, I doubt anyone had read this far, but two little quibbles:

1. As a purist, my preference would be to restore the lyrics to a more 'pure' version of the Lord's Prayer

2. To me, this song is more 'worshipful' than 'prayerful'. I might be even better with a Biblical text of praise than the Lord's Prayer. And I'd also like a pony ;-)
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