Sunday’s 53rd Annual Grammy Awards were host to a historic event, though nobody watching them at home would have had any idea. Christopher Tin, who’s work has been featured on everything from films to commercials to the History Channel, received the Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists” for his piece “Baba Yetu,” which he wrote for Civilization IV. Rather than listen to me ramble about how fantastic the work is, just check out the music video below.
This is an amazing achievement because, like, come on. Say what you will about award shows, but the man won a freaking Grammy here. But even more impressive is the fact that this marks the first time that this award has been bestowed upon a composer for his or her work on a video game score. It’s sad that it took until 2011 for something like this to happen, as there are certainly many, many works that would be worthy of such recognition in the medium. Regardless, it’s great to see video game music slowly beginning to garner mainstream respect, and for helping to bring game scoring even further into the public light, Tin’s win on Sunday was as great an industry success as it was a personal one.
For the most part anyway. See, I had a slight problem with the way the Grammys chose to present Mr. Tin with his award. Take a look:
Nothing wrong with that, right? He’s probably in the middle of a humble acceptance speech, or possibly encouraging his fellow game composers to give the award a shot next year. I only wish that we could spin the camera around and take a look at the audience. to be able to see the Staples Center in Los Angeles packed to the aisles with people from all over the country, many of whom have never, up to this point, considered video game scoring to be a viable source of great music. To see the looks on their faces as they begin to feel a new found respect for the medium, as we enter a new age of–
…oh. That’s right. Christopher Tin was presented his award during the pre-telecast portion of the event. In other words, the show hadn’t started yet. I assume ninety percent of the people present were either working at the venue, or had typed “Sammy’s Grill” into Google Maps, and when it popped back up with the suggestion “did you mean ‘Grammys’?” they just rolled with it.
In the end, does it really matter? No. The fact that the first video game composition ever to win a Grammy was deemed (by those in charge of the ceremonies) not important enough to make the actual televised portion of the event is sad. But it doesn’t change how amazing the piece is. Or the fact that this is still a landmark for video game music as a whole. And besides, I’m pretty sure Christopher Tin is doing just fine, audience or no. I mean, holy crap, go look at the guy’s Wikipedia page if you don’t believe me. The list of awesome stuff that he’s done reads so long that I wouldn’t be that surprised if he took that award home and just ate Fruit Loops out of it.
Anyway, congratulations Mr. Tin! Not only have you scored (see what I did there?) an impressive victory for our medium, but you bond readily with iron and have not one, but two oxidation states! Keep up the fantastic work!
Really? Periodic table jokes? Is that what he’s doing?