If you haven’t heard Baba Yetu it means you haven’t played Civilization 4. This means your gaming experience is faulty. You should remedy that. Go to Steam, go buy it, thank me later.
You back? Played it for over 400 hours, lost your family and your job? Good stuff, now you understand, right? Great game, I’m sure you’ll agree. But the song is what’s important here.
The song Baba Yetu, the intro song for Civ 4, is quite simply amazing. As is known, it’s the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili.
It’s a fantastic piece that manages to take the words of a religious anthem, put it into a language that a great number of people speak but most people haven’t heard – outside of the names of the characters in the Lion King – and performed by a choir that manages to make a prayer uplifting.
What’s so incredible about the song isn’t just it’s inherent awesomeness as a musical piece, but it’s message about humanity. It’s religion, joy, and multiculturalism all in one. By having it sung in Swahili, the piece ceases to actually about God or religion or any of that, and instead becomes a kind of anthem about mankind.
This is the song we should be sending out on the Voyager Golden Disc! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_Golden_Record for reference). This is the music that should be representing all of mankind’s achievements and cultural accomplishments in a beautiful 3 minutes and 55 seconds.
Love it or hate it, religion is a part of our history that can’t be avoided; we are all shaped by the religions created by our majestic species – through repression or advancement – and this song brings that historical significance, but at the same time removes the inherent… religiousness of it? I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s like… Listening to all of mankind, in one beautiful chorus, celebrating our achievements and creativity whilst not neglecting the importance that religion played in our development.
So. I propose this: it should be our species’ anthem. When we eventually make alien contact with some form of sentient other many years from now, this should be the song that accompanies the dignitaries we send to them their laser-ray dooms. But seriously, let’s do it! Let’s make it our Earthly Song!