Baba Yetu

I really only ever play one video game, Civilization IV. This is in part because when I was in high school I used to play Civilization (the first one) off a floppy disk on the school’s computers. We figured out how to work around the old computer’s boot sequence to be able to get a DOS prompt and CIV I was able to be played entirely from a floppy disk.

CIV IV was released while I was on my second deployment to Iraq. To me, it was the perfect improvement from Civilization III. I’ve tried the newer versions of the game but they didn’t allow me to play the way I liked to (for me it’s mostly about colonizing the land) and because of this they weren’t fun.

CIV IV starts with an epic song, Baba Yetu. It wasn’t until I started listening to streaming music services that I realized I could try to download the song and add it to my playlist. I personally think video game music has been overlooked by the industry despite the fact that it’s been terribly good at working with system limitations throughout it’s evolution. Who doesn’t like Lindsey Stirling’s Zelda Duet?

While I enjoyed the song Baba Yetu it was in a language I didn’t know and so understanding the lyrics were beyond me. I had the same feelings about Beethoven’s 9th which I knew had powerful words, but prior to the internet getting a translation was rather difficult.

Eventually I got around to googling Baba Yetu and what it means. I was pleasantly surprised to find the song was a translation of the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili–and it was beautiful.

SwahiliEnglish
Baba yetu, yetu uliye
Mbinguni yetu, yetu amina!
Baba yetu yetu uliye
M Jina lako e litukuzwe.Utupe leo chakula chetu
Tunachohitaji, utusamehe
Makosa yetu, hey!
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe
Waliotukosea usitutie
Katika majaribu, lakini
Utuokoe, na yule, muovu e milele!Ufalme wako ufike utakalo
Lifanyike duniani kama mbinguni.
(Amina)
Our Father, who art
in Heaven. Amen!
Our Father,
Hallowed be thy name.Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us of
our trespasses,
As we forgive others
Who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from the evil one forever. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
(Amen)

Some time later the song got the attention of a couple of prominent vocal artists on YouTube, Peter Hollins and Alex Boyé. Alex Boyé has long been admired by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and so when at an event this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Priesthood of God being bestowed based upon worthiness happened early this year, I was pleased to see Alex’s rendition of the song added to the celebration’s program. It’s a powerful rendition. It’s a powerful song. It’s based on a powerful prayer. All because a video game needed a good intro.

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