EOST Researchers

1st May 2013

Link to programme of events page; http://www.ceolas.co.uk/failte-gu-ceolas/eost/


Gillebrìde MacMillan is from South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. He comes from a family with a strong Gaelic background and Gaelic is his first language.  Gaelic songs and traditions were always an important part of family and community life.

Gillebrìde has been described by a reviewer as having a voice “that wine writers would love to set their vocabularies loose on – mahogany richness with hints of sea salt, perhaps – and he has a way of singing in Gaelic that conveys the gist and tone of a song by subtle inflection”. He has recently released a highly acclaimed CD, ‘Air Fòrladh’ and he has performed and taught Gaelic song throughout the world.

Gillebrìde also works as a Gaelic teacher at The University of Glasgow. He is particularly interested in researching traditional song and the oral tradition.


Jo MacDonald is a native Gaelic speaker from the island of Lewis.  During a career  spent largely with the BBC she worked mainly in factual and education programming. Before leaving the BBC at the end of 2008 she was Managing Editor of BBC Gàidhlig, a tri-media department whose output includes the national Gaelic radio service BBC Radio nan Gaidheal,  a wide range  of  television programming for the Gaelic channel BBC Alba and for BBC2, and the Gaelic website bbcalba.co.uk.

She was a member of MAGOG whose 2002 report to Scottish ministers recommended the establishment of a body which would take a strategic approach to Gaelic Development activities.  She was also one of the three senior support staff who oversaw the restructuring of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the national Gaelic Development Agency.

Jo, now working as a freelance researcher, writer and translator and broadcaster  was responsible for the selection of the material for BBC Radio nan Gaidheal ’s award winning  Òran an Là (Song of the Day) http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/oran/ and for researching and writing much of the website content. She was Editor of the Open University’s  learning resource Gaelic in Modern Scotland/Cànan nan Gàidheal. http://www.open.edu/openlearn/languages/more-languages/gaelic-modern-scotland/

Jo has had a long association with South Uist and has produced many programmes and often given talks on different aspects of the island’s heritage. She is a member of the Board of MG ALBA , a member of An Seotal’s Gaelic terminology panel and a member of The Sorley Maclean Trust.


Pekka Huttu-Hiltunen

Folk music researcher, DMus Pekka Huttu-Hiltunen (b. 1954) works as a director of the Runosong Academy, in Kuhmo, Finland.  He is specialized in fieldwork orientated runosong research. Huttu-Hiltunen’s  most important publication is monograph Länsivienalainen runolaulu 1900-luvulla (Runosong of Western Viena in the 20th century), in which he shows that  the cultural significance of runosong, i.e. its primary cultural function has changed gradually in the 20th century, but as a means of human communication runosong has not become extinct in Western Viena, nor has it lost entirely its specific cultural significance. Runosong persisted as oral tradition in Western Viena Karelia throughout the 20th century.

At the moment Huttu-Hiltunen is working with a research project called Runosong as cultural communication. Besides being a researcher, Pekka Huttu-Hiltunen has long experience in teaching. He has worked as a music teacher at secondary school level, and as Principal in the Music Institute of Kuhmo.


Naomi Harvey is a singer of Gaelic & Scots song from the Glasgow area. She learned Gaelic language & song through the Fèisean movement as a child, and went on to study the language at Glasgow University, where she graduated with a first class Honours degree in Gaelic and Early Gaelic, and an MPhil in Litreachas is Cànan nan Gàidheal (Literature & Language of the Gael). She then moved to Benbecula and studied traditional song at college there for three years, learning from local singers such as Paul McCallum, Isa MacKillop and Catrìona Garbutt.

Now living back in the Central Belt, Naomi has worked as a researcher and cataloguer for two important archive websites; the Calum MacLean Digitisation Project and Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o’ Riches.  This experience deepened her knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Gaelic oral tradition. Musically, Naomi is a singer with the award-winning band Lurach, and is also in demand as a both a teacher and performer at festivals and traditional song organisations across Scotland..