Civilization IV


  • Released October 25, 2005
  • CREDIT: Composer
  • STUDIO: 2K Games

Christopher got the job writing the theme for Civilization IV after running into his former roommate, Soren Johnson, at their five-year college reunion. Soren was taking over the Civilization franchise as lead designer; and Christopher, coincidentally, was a longtime Civ fan. A few months later Soren called Christopher with some good news: he had taken some of the music Christopher had recorded with his college a cappella group, Stanford Talisman, and laid it on the opening menu screen. The music fit perfectly, and the development team wanted to hire him to write a new theme for the game.

The Music

Christopher wrote two pieces for the game: 'Coronation', which plays underneath the opening movie, and 'Baba Yetu', a rousing setting of the Lord's Prayer in Swahili. Both pieces are a juxtaposition of several genres of music that he had extensive experience with: African gospel vocals, world beat drumming, and orchestra. 'Baba Yetu' in particular struck a chord with the public, and transformed Christopher's career almost immediately upon release.


Immediately following its release, 'Baba Yetu' became a hit within the video game music world, garnering instant acclaim, being premiered at the Hollywood Bowl, and winning Christopher multiple industry awards, including two GANG Awards. After it was re-released in a new recording on his debut album Calling All Dawns, however, it won the ultimate award: the Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals, a category usually dominated by jazz arrangers. This made history as the first time a piece of video game music had won a Grammy award--an honor that the Guinness Book of World Records recognized him for in 2016. Press for the song has also been unanimously positive. The Washington Post called it "sophisticated", Time Magazine called it "anthemic", while The Guardian called it "an intelligent meeting of melody and theme".


Baba Yetu is one of the only pieces of video game music to transcend its genre into mainstream popularity. It's been performed everywhere from community choirs to Carnegie Hall. It's gone from being just a video game song to the soundtrack for everything from Premier League Football to The Vatican. It's been played at weddings, funerals, and even the signing of a historic peace treaty in Mozambique. It's regularly performed at the United Nations. Dancers have danced to it, acrobatic troupes have performed routines to it, skaters have won competitions with it. There's an enormous synchronized fountain show in Dubai set to it. It's been performed twice on America's Got Talent. It was even a question on Jeopardy!


'Baba Yetu's appeal extended well beyond the video game market, however. Once Alfred Publishing released the song as a stand-alone choral octavo, it instantly became a runaway seller, and made the unprecedented leap from being a video game theme song to a modern choral standard. It's Alfred's top pop choral seller, and its popularity lead to subsequent releases for other choral and solo configurations, as well as newer publications by Hal Leonard.


The original version of 'Baba Yetu' for Civilization IV featured Christopher's college a cappella group, Talisman. Years later however, when we went to re-record the song for his debut album Calling All Dawns, he recorded the Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir instead. However, one thing did remain constant: lead soloist Ron Ragin, whom the solo was written specifically for.

In 2020, Christopher's record label DeccaGold celebrated the 15th-anniversary of the release of the song with an open call for video submissions, which they then edited together into a montage celebrating the anniversary of the song. The resulting video can be seen here.

Sheet Music

Purchase here: North America | Rest-of-World

Rent performance materials here: Boosey and Hawkes


SSATBB + Piano

Baba Yetu

SATB + Piano

Baba Yetu

SAB + Piano

Baba Yetu

SSAA + Piano

Baba Yetu

TTBB + Piano


Concert Band

Baba Yetu

Marching Band

Baba Yetu

Flex Band

Baba Yetu

Choir, Soloists, Orchestra (Full or Chamber)

Baba Yetu

Piano Quintet




Easy Piano




Easy Guitar