They're members of two of Scotland’s biggest rock bands, playing hit songs to tens of thousands of fans in arenas around the world.

Yet on Thursday night, they’ll take concert-goers into a world of fantasy, traditional music and live-action combat in a unique cross-over performance fusing traditional Scots music and Gaelic singing with interactive gaming.

Simple Minds bass player Ged Grimes will lead a team of musicians and singers, including Deacon Blue guitarist Gregor Philp, in a one-off performance of the soundtrack from an American-made computer game set in 18th century Scotland.

The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep is a contemporary spin-off following the success of the series’ original gaming trilogy in the 1980s.

Players fight an evil force which has lain in wait for hundreds of years following mysterious events at Skara Brae, Orkney’s famous neolithic settlement.

The adventure is set against hours of Celtic music, scored exclusively for the game by Mr Grimes, working with a number of prominent musicians from Scotland’s traditional scene.

Mr Grimes, from Dundee, was approached by New Orleans-based game developers inXile Entertainment, having worked on soundtracks for games such as Earthworm Jim, Enter the Matrix and the Bourne Supremacy since the late 1990s.

Collaborating with musicians and singers from the Scots and Gaelic musical backgrounds, including 16-year old Peigi Barker, the voice of Young Merida in Disney film Brave, as well as 82-year-old Gaelic singer Rona Lightfoot, Mr Grimes was inspired by a visit to Japan to stage a live version of the music from the game featuring a full band and footage from the game.

Tonight, his vision will be realised at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall as part of Celtic Connections.

Mr Grimes said: “Years ago I met Nobuo Uimatsu in Japan. He composes the music for the Final Fantasy games, and was one of the first to take an orchestra out to play the music from the games. 

“That really intrigued me, it made me realise there was an audience for this.”

The event, directed by Dundee Rep’s Andrew Panton, will feature performances from singers including Kathleen MacInnes, Fiona Hunter, Eilidh Cormack, and narration from actor John Buick.

Mr Grimes worked on the soundtrack across several years, between international tours of America, Mexico and Australia with Simple Minds.
He said: “I’m long enough in the tooth now to know that you have to keep yourself animated and active. One thing Simple Minds have done, which I have total respect for, is that they’ve never rested on their laurels.

“We did an acoustic tour a few years ago which tied in well with what I did on the games. 

“But this has opened up a world of incredible young Gaelic singers and musicians who are confident, multi-talented individuals with a real pride in their culture and they want their culture and their language to be relevant and used.” 

“The idea of that community  being represented in an Xbox game is great. If someone in South America is playing the game then they’re going to be hearing these songs and Gaelic music. It authenticates the game and it also gives those songs an international audience, and people might want to find out more about those songs and that language.

“It’s a bold and ambitious project which has over 20 people involved, but I just think sometimes people are looking for new experiences,” said the musician, who was also an original member of 1980s pop band Danny Wilson, best known for the 1987 hit Mary’s Prayer. 

“It’s a great thing for Gaelic and traditional Scots music to be in an Xbox game. It really is a representation of how healthy that scene is. It seemed the natural place to do a show like this was at Celtic Connections.”

Following an initial launch last September, the game will be available for Xbox players in April. Volume two of the soundtrack is released this week. 

Discussions have taken place about further performances, including a possible production at Dundee’s V&A.

Mr Grimes said: “There might be chance to recreate the concert in another form with the possibility of a performance at the V&A as part of a videos games exhibition.

“It’s a unique thing, not something that comes along every day. Celtic Connections realise that traditional music doesn’t stand still, it progresses when it’s heard in new environments and this is a great example of how it can be showcased in a way that people really wouldn’t expect.”

The Bard’s Tale: Live Premiere is at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as part of Celtic Connections on Thursday night.