When it comes to video game soundtracks, “Baba Yetu”, the theme from Civilization IV, is perhaps the among the most memorable. Its composer, Christopher Tin, is back with a new song for the upcoming Civilization VI, “Sogno Di Volare”.
With Civilization VI launching in just a few days, the new theme has finally been revealed, together with the launch trailer. Take a listen:
Good news is, we like it! There’s a stirring sense of hope in it, which makes sense, as Sogno Di Volare means “Dream Of Flight”. Coupled with the rather epic trailer, it’s all very hopeful – a view of humanity that is constantly reaching for new horizons, instead of looking inwardly. (Also, does Sean Bean die in everything?) A pity, however, that it’s not sing-along friendly, given the meaningful lyrics. Tin said on Facebook that they’re “from the Leonardo da Vinci quote that Leonard Nimoy recites when you discover Flight as a technology in Civ IV: ‘For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.'”
And it’s also hard for anything to compare against to Baba Yetu. For starters, Baba Yetu is an important piece of music. The African-inspired tune is unique in many ways, since so many other theme songs are classical-esque in nature or feature droning bass noises. It’s also the first video game theme to ever win a Grammy award, for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)” which it won in 2011. There’s wonderful meaning behind it, since it’s the Lord’s Prayer sung in Swahili. And it’s so good, that I know some people messed with their Civilization V files to make it play Baba Yetu instead.
MAKING THE SONG
Firaxis Games also earlier released a video featuring Tin discussing the process of creating Sogno Di Volare. Tin described it as having a more “European setting”, and it’s clear that the song rather more classical in nature.
At any rate, Baba Yetu is so well-loved that Tin is still playing it in concerts. 2K Asia also released the following video, in which Tin conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Angel City Chorale, Prima Vocal Ensemble, and Lucis at Cadogan Hall in London, July 19, 2016.
For more Baba Yetu goodness, there’s always this version from Video Games Live Level 2 back in 2011 (h/t Cosplay Correspondent Jack Li):
And honestly, there are so many good versions of Baba Yetu out there, I listened to eight different versions while writing this. It is too early to say if Sogno Di Volare will have the same sticking power – but it’ll definitely do well in orchestral settings.
Right now, it appears that Sogno Di Volare doesn’t quite match up to Baba Yetu. But, those are huge shoes to fill, and it’s hard to say if it’ll become an ear worm without having the theme play while we’re enjoying the game – for no matter what the theme sounds like, Civilization VI is just a damn good game.
Civilization VI will be released Oct 21.