Civilization IV song wins Grammy Award

American composer Christopher Tin takes home Grammy Award for Civilization IV opening song Baba Yetu; marks the first time a video game composition has won in the awards' history.

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Christopher Tin made video game history today, becoming the first composer to win a Grammy Award for a song composed for a game. Tin took home the Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) at the 53rd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles today for his composition "Baba Yetu," the opening track from Sid Meier's Civilization IV. Tin also won the Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Album for his debut album, Calling All Dawns, which also features the song "Baba Yetu."

Civilization IV's title song wins a Grammy.

A native Californian, Tin studied music at Stanford and Oxford universities before launching his career in film, television, advertising, and video game composition. He cocreated the startup sound for Microsoft's Surface operating system, as well as the demo song for Apple's Garage Band software.

"Baba Yetu" was born when Tin's Stanford roommate, Soren Johnson--lead designer of Civilization IV and then-employee of Firaxis Games--asked him to compose the theme song for Civilization IV. The choral piece was first performed by the Stanford Talisman a cappella group and features Swahili lyrics--a translated version of "Our Father," one of the most popular prayers in Christianity. Upon Civilization IV's release in 2005, Tin's composition quickly gained critical praise in the games industry and went on to win two Game Audio Network Guild Awards in 2007.

Since then, "Baba Yetu" has become a regular in the repertoire of Video Games Live, an international touring concert that teams up with some of the world's best orchestras and choirs with some of the most popular video game anthems. The song had its world premiere in 2006 at the Video Games Live concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

Discussion

55 comments
ArdentV
ArdentV

This is fantastic! Great piece of music.

Anicsin
Anicsin

Baba Yetu is a great song, and they made and incredibly awesome clip for it, it is well deserved! :)

daabulls23
daabulls23

Took it long enough. Well deserved, but shouldn't good music be rewarded when it's first heard? It's like they waited till it became a staple and popular before it won. Also, love how all the Civ IV music is available through the directory.

majere613
majere613

Wait, what? It's music from a 2005 game and a 2009 album (ta Wikipedia)- why the heck has it taken until 2011 to win an award? Clearly these guys like to take their time making decisions. I pity the waiter when they do lunch. ..and I've just seen the answer below. RTFC!

subzero300
subzero300

This is wonderful exposure for the industry. Video Game music is such an essential part of the holistic game experience. This will certainly help with the refinement of this often overlooked aspect of games.

Brotto
Brotto

Great song, congrats!

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

No surprise. If it was any game, it would be the greatest. Civ IV.

HyruleanLink
HyruleanLink

Awesome! This is great for video game music. I hope to hear the song from VGL in March!

Dazza102
Dazza102

Actually the VGL version is better, just realized LOL.

Dazza102
Dazza102

@Lisandro_v22 the album "Calling All Dawns" was released in late 2009 with the remastered track of Baba Yetu (the superior version btw). This is why it was able to win an award in 2011. (because it was late 2009 its counted in the 2010 entries as it was unable to compete in the 2009 Grammys). This years is the 2010 entries- just to avoid confusion.

Lisandro_v22
Lisandro_v22

Isn't it from 2005? Shouldn't it be from 2010 to compete? I don't get it

egres122
egres122

Just another reason why video games are awesome. All this effort cannot be put into something that wasn't.

Darth_Nater307
Darth_Nater307

I first heard this song at Video Games Live in New Orleans, & now it's probably one of my favorite pieces of music I've ever listened too.

tenakakhan
tenakakhan

Remember the first time I loaded Civ IV and heard this song, it was a pure goosebump moment! Great tune, and likely to stay in your head for days after hearing it. I think game music is among the best of any music out there. I mean I prefer instrumentals to lyrical music anyway, but take games like Oblivion, X3, The Sims, Mass Effect, Myst (Riven et al), Halo.....I mean the list goes on and on for quality and artworthy musical scores...

bguy9
bguy9

This is a really good song. Jose Gonzalez "So Far Away" from RDR should have won a grammy too.

bguy9
bguy9

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Targzissian
Targzissian

Pretty sure it's spelled Firaxis, not Fireaxis.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

For all who don't know the song's actually the "Lord's Prayer" making it all the more awesome.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

I've had this song since I heard it, it's awesome. I listen to it whenever I need a lift in spirit.

metalkid9
metalkid9

Civ games have the most memorable music

StSk8ter29
StSk8ter29

I remember listening to that song over and over. I even found it in the games directory and pulled it to my desktop at one time so I could listen to it easier. Therefore, I'm not surprised.

Evenios
Evenios

whooo hooo! score one for computer games! but wait a second doesnt the Grammy's awards stuff for things that came out in the past year? Civ IV is like 3 years old? but still cool!

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

Congrats! Maybe soon there will be a Video Game Music category at the Grammy's. :)

tyrosxps
tyrosxps

makes me wonder why they didn't do this thing before, there were games with epic soundtracks deserving some kind of award (e.g. Jeremy Soule compositions for Morrowind, Dungeon Siege to name a few)

mathfool
mathfool

Now if only Nobuo Uematsu could get the awards he so richly deserves.

Linkari
Linkari

Still disappointed Daft Punk wasn't even nominated for Tron Legacy but a video game song winning a Grammy certainly makes up for it. Way to go! :D

chaoswinner
chaoswinner

My schools marching band played this song for our video games live show two years ago!

wis3boi
wis3boi

One of the most epic intro songs ever. I wish I could replace Civ 5's menu song with this one

QuatrixJ
QuatrixJ

It's "by the way", by the way, not "btw".

SSG_Troyer
SSG_Troyer

@gnbfd: The song is just now winning a Grammy because songs aren't eligible for Grammys until they've been released on a CD/tape/record/sumsuch. Since it was on Tin's CD _Calling All Dawns_, released in 2010, it became eligible for the 2010 Grammy.

strayfies
strayfies

I have that song, it's a good one. I liked The People more, but I'm pretty biased.

Joesocwork
Joesocwork

I'm amazed at how long it took to get recognized also. But it really has stood the test time! :) Hopefully it will bring much deserved attention to the art and professionality of video game scoring.

roddy72
roddy72

YES! Finally. A beginning of a new era in music.

Pete5506
Pete5506

My choir group in college did this song for awhile, a very fun piece.

fzd88
fzd88

congrads! This opening song 100% summarizes the Civ series. Puts you into the right mood instantly. "Making history" indeed :)

MoragTong25
MoragTong25

"The people are the heroes" is better.

sylvaedawn
sylvaedawn

I always liked this song. Glad to hear it's making a history...

BornGamer
BornGamer

Maybe it's not too late for Ludwig Van Beethoven to win a grammy. I hear he wrote some good tunes.

winnazdaluza
winnazdaluza

It's style is similar to the swahili songs you would hear in catholic churches in kenya.The songs were so good i would find myself singing them even out of church.

JimmyCos
JimmyCos

amazing day for vidyagaems music!

Blade8Aus
Blade8Aus

The song is now stuck in my head :)