Gig Seeker Pro


Middletown, New Jersey, United States

Middletown, New Jersey, United States
Band Folk Celtic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Get Jiggy With It"

"Energetic stage presence, wicked fiddle skills and lilting vocals!"
- Kelly-Anne Suarez, The Morning Call

"Trad with a Twist!"

"Purely Original...Unmistakably Celtic...Trad with a Twist!" - Tom Pearson - World Jam Radio

"Review of "Blackwater Live at 10""

"A great blend of vocals and instrumentals. Something on this one for every lover of Irish Music."

"Saw the band perform live at the Celtic Classic Festival and I am very glad to bring this band back to our listeners here in the Chicago area. I expect that we'll be seeing more of this group in the very near future." - Shay Clark 90.9 FM WDCB


Full Albums
"Blackwater" (Self-Titled Debut Album)
1999 Bummertent Records
2002 Bummertent Records
"Live at 10 from Godfrey Daniels"
2007 Independent Release

All three albums are available at CD Baby

Singles and Compilations
1998 - Lehigh Valley Christmas - "The Boars Head Carol"
1999 - Lehigh Valley Christmas - Glocestershire Wassail"
2000 - Lehigh Valley Christmas - "Here Comes Santa Claus"
2000 - Friends of JOe Foley - "Littlebridge Inches"
2001 - Lehigh Valley Christmas - "Fum, Fum, Fum"
2002 - Celtic Classic, A Compilation - "John O'Dreams"
2002 - Lehigh Valley Christmas - "Christmas in the Trenches"
2003 - WDIY Studio Sessions - Volume 2 "Colligan Spring"
2003 - Lehigh Valley Christmas- "I Saw Three Ships"
2004 - Lehigh Valley Christmas - "O Come Little Children"
2005 - Lehigh Valley Christmas - "Fairytale of New York" with Zen for Primates



"Purely Original...Unmistakably Celtic...Trad with a Twist!"

Blackwater is a five piece Celtic band from the Pennsylvania / New Jersey area. Formed in 1996, the band has released 3 albums, performed everywhere from street corners to festival stages and brought their inspired love of their shared musical heritage to an ever growing fan base. The bands members have a rich tradition in Celtic, Folk, Classical and Contemporary Music and have successfully merged those individual influences into a unique and dynamic sound.

Striking vocal harmonies, intricate fiddle styles, multi-instrumental talent and a penchant for compelling rhythms lend the group its unmistakably take on the traditional. Original compositions, innovative arrangements and an all embracing passion for fun, freshen the mix for a show that has been described as "sheer ceili aerobics!"

Sean Hennessy, a self-taught musician, is the lead singer and co-founder of the band. Raised in equal parts in a first generation Irish household in New Jersey and the sunny south-east of County Waterford, music and storytelling have been a part of his life from the beginning. Greatly influenced by this rich family tradition, as well as the performances of Christy Moore, Andy M. Stewart, and Paddy Reilly, Sean has been performing for the better part of 25 years on his own and with groups throughout the Northeastern US and Ireland. His first ventures into performing Irish Music were in Philadelphias rich folk scene in the 1980s while attending Villanova University. Since then, he has sung for popes, politicians and just about everyone in between.

Alison Gillespie is a native of Essex, England, but spent her childhood growing up on a farm in Central New Jersey. She studied classical violin in her teens, but also found enjoyment hearing authentic bluegrass music being played in an old music hall near her home. While away at Ohio University, Alison's interest in folk music led her to attend an inspiring performance by legendary Irish fiddler Kevin Burke. Not long after, Alison began performing Irish dance tunes on the fiddle with a five-piece band, and has been performing regularly ever since. Alison currently teaches Celtic fiddle at the Moravian Music Institute in Bethlehem, PA.

Al Keller, the other founding member of the band, was raised in rural Lehigh County, Pa. While playing bluegrass music on guitar and upright bass fiddle, he became interested in the origin of the instrumental fiddle tunes. Listening to WXPN Radio in 1983 he heard a recording by the Boys of the Lough, a Scots/Irish band, and his direction in Celtic music was established for good. Learning the tenor banjo, mandolin, and bodhran, Al began playing for clubs, festivals and ceili's around the area with several local groups before helping to form Blackwater. Al is still a regular at many seisuns and can be found most any night of the week plucking away in the corner of some pub or speakeasy.

Fionna Hennessy studied at Moravian College's Music Department where she was a voice major. Growing up with her brother Sean, she was also greatly influenced by her musical grandfather who was widely known for his own singing and storytelling ability. Fionna has been playing the flute and singing since she was a child. Before joining Blackwater, she performed for many years with Sean, in the Balladeers. The familiarity of singing together since childhood and Fionnas unique ability at harmonization is the key to the bands signature vocal performances.

Tom Gillespie, grew up in Central New Jersey and began playing guitar and 5-string banjo at 13, which led to his study in bluegrass, country, jazz, blues and then classical styles. Tom holds a degree in music from Trenton State College where he studied music theory and composition, with performance focused on piano, viola and voice. His folk music beginnings were rekindled in the 1970s when he came across some Steeleye Span recordings, and he has been playing Celtic music since. Tom currently performs in the Traditional Celtic instrumental band Gilly's Hedge with Alison and Al.

On their own, each is an accomplished performerbut together, these five friends and musicians are Blackwater and their shared talents create a unique style that is "Purely Original...Unmistakably Celtic...Trad with a Twist!"

Band Members