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Chris Walz

BB King

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Fred McDowell

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Furry Lewis

Tampa Red

Ma Rainey

Bessie Smith

Etta Baker

Sippie Wallace

Big Bill Broonzy

Neal Schon

Eric Clapton

Harvey Reid

Roy Rogers Slide Player

What’s New?

Click here to listen to the 12 minute Podcast aired on GLT Blues Next on January 9, 2014 about Donna’s CD: The Moon is Rising: Songs of Robert Nighthawk.


Click on the link to see a video of Donna & Tony playing at Buddy Guy’s Legends on August 10, 2013 for the 2 hour acoustic dinner set: http://gigity.tv/event/2090/.  Video taken by Buddy Guy’s Legends.


Donna Herula is a Chicago born singer and slide guitar player that plays country, Delta and modern blues styles.  With a percussive guitar style and soulful voice, Donna plays fingerstyle as well as blues slide guitar on her resonator guitars, including a 1930’s National Steel Triolian and National Steel Tricone (see pictures above).

In her solo and duo acoustic performances, Donna plays a mix of songs from the early blues women, including Memphis Minnie, Ma Rainey, and Bessie Smith and the early Delta blues men, including Robert Johnson, Robert Nighthawk, Furry Lewis, Blind Blake, and Muddy Waters.  She also performs music from more recent blues and slide players including Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Lucinda Williams.

Donna was a semifinalist in the 2012 Yamaha Six String Theory international guitar competition.  She placed in the top 6 of the blues guitarist category among contestants from 58 countries.

Donna won the Chicago Blues Challenge, solo/duo category two years in a row; in 2010 with harpist John Jochem and in 2011 with singer/songwriter, Liz Mandeville; and with Liz, also placed in the semi-finals at the 2012 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.  In addition, Donna won the Illinois Central Blues Clubs blues challenge as a solo performer and competed in the IBCs in 2009.

In 2012, Donna’s slide guitar playing was featured on 3 tracks of Liz Mandeville’s CD, Clarksdale http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lizmandeville1 as well as in Dutch blues film Cheesehead Blues: http://vimeo.com/58095701.

An accomplished slide guitarist, Donna performed a tribute to slide guitar master Robert Nighthawk at the 2009 Chicago Blues Festival for his centennial celebration.  She also performed as part of a Nighthawk symposium for the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, AR.

Donna has played at a number of other blues festivals including the King Biscuit Blues Festival (a.k.a. Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival), The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival (Davenport, Iowa), the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth, MN, Blues by the Bay in East Tawas, Michigan, Alpena Blues Festival (Michigan) and the Mother’s Best Music Festival in Helena, Arkansas. 

Donna’s second CD “The Moon Is Rising: Songs of Robert Nighthawk” was released in February 2011 and in September 2011, placed #32 on the Roots Music Report for top Blues albums played on the radio.  It includes songs from early in Robert Nighthawk’s career -- when he was known as Robert Lee McCoy/McCollum -- as well as songs that influenced him. Her CD was selected to represent the Illinois Central Blues Club in the Best Self-Produced CD Competition at the 2012 IBC.  The song, “Crying Won’t Help You” was listed as song #13 on James “Skyy Dobro” Walker’s Top 50 Songs of 2011.

In October 2011, Donna was nominated for the “Best Female Blues Performer” by the Chicago Black Music Awards.

She has been on a number of blues radio shows including five times on King Biscuit Time, with Sonny Payne, legendary host and member of the blues hall of fame, on Delta Sounds with host Terry Buckalew, both on www.KFFA.com radio in Helena; GLT Blues Next in central Illinois, WNUR in Evanston, IL and KUAF Radio in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Donna plays as a soloist as well as in a duet with her husband singer/guitarist, Tony Nardiello. (See website page “Duet with Tony” for more information.)

See below for information on past performances.

Venues Played:

Blues and Music Festivals

Chicago Blues Festival

    Front Porch Stage & Route 66 Raodhouse Stage

Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (Lockwood-

   Stackhouse Acoustic Stage)

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival (Tent Stage)

Bayfront Blues Festival, Acoustic Stage (Duluth, MN)

Blues By the Bay, Main Stage (East Tawas, MI)

Alpena Blues Festival (Main Stage)

Woodstock Folk Fest (Woodstock, IL)

Old Town Blues Festival, Main Stage (Lansing, MI)

Mother’s Best Music Festival, Main Stage (Helena, Arkansas)

Robert Nighthawk Symposium, Miller Hotel (Helena, Arkansas)

CU Folk and Roots Festival (Urbana, IL)

Festival for the Eno, All 4 stages (Durham, North Carolina)

Ice Melting Blues Festival (Long Grove, IL)

No More Blues Baby, Blues Festival (Janesville, WI)

Glenwood Avenue Art Festival (Chicago)

Cuneo Gardens Art Festival (Vernon Hills)

Evanston Lakeshore Art Festival

Deerfield Festival of Fine Arts

Grayslake Art Festival

Highwood Fine Art Festival

Northbrook Art in the Park Festival

Apple Fest (Long Grove, IL)

Chocolate Fest (Long Grove, IL)

International World’s Tour (Long Grove, IL)

Strawberry Festival (Long Grove, IL)


Buddy Guy’s Legends (Chicago, IL)

BB’s Jazz Blues and Soups (St. Louis, MO)

House of Blues (Chicago, IL)

Rosa’s Lounge (Chicago, IL)

Blues Bar (Mt. Prospect, IL)

Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall (Memphis, TN)

Wet Willie’s (Memphis, TN)

Duke’s Bar (Rogers Park, Chicago)

Rhythm Room (Phoenix, Arizona)

Red Line Tap (Rogers Park, Chicago)

Bill’s Blues Bar (Evanston - now closed)

The Horseshoe (Chicago)

Dragon’s Dome Sports and Events Complex (Pekin, IL)

Fitger’s Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)

The Pavioion After Dar (Northbrook, IL)

Toby’s Tavern (North Chicago)

Peanuts Bar & Grill (Naperville)

Coffeehouses, Restaurants & Wineries

Focal Point: Traditional & Original Music Concert    

    Series & Arts Center (St. Louis, MO)

SPACE (Evanston, IL)

Viper Alley (Linconshire, IL)

Lovell’s of Lake Forest (Lake Forest, IL)

Cellar Gate Wine Market (Highwood, IL)

Noodle Bar (Lake Bluff, IL)

Pasta Palooza (Lake Bluff, IL)

Uncommon Ground, Clark (Chicago, IL)

Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse (Madison, WI)

The Walnut Speakeasy (Elgin, IL)

Newport Coffee House (Bannockburn, IL)

The Common Cup (Rogers Park, Chicago)

The Buzz Cafe (Oak Park)

The Heartland Cafe (Rogers Park, Chicago)

C.J. Arthur’s (Wilmette)

Potbelly Sandwich Works (Gurnee)

Ace’s On First Martini Bar (Duluth, MN)

The Vine Martini and Wine Bar (Grayslake)

Mocha European Cafe & Wine Cellar (Highwood - now closed)

Schools, Libraries, Benefits & Special Events

Maxwell Street Revival/Chicago Blues Jam

Chicago Blues Tour

Blues, BBQ and Brew, Benefit for the Pioneer Center

    (Crystal Lake, IL)

Delta Blues Workshop (Urbana, IL)

Slide Guitar Workshop (Davenport, IA, St. Louis, MO,

     Champaign, IL)

Tunes at Twilight (Cape Girardeau, MO)

Park Ridge Library

Barrington Library (Second Friday Series)

Bloomingdale Public Library

Riverside Public Library

FARM Folk Conference (DJ Showcase, St. Louis, MO)

Live at the Union: CROYA (Lake Forest, IL)

Hersey High School (Arlington Heights)

College of Lake County’s Women’s Center (Grayslake)

College of Lake County Performing Arts Center (Grayslake)

St. John Vianney Ladies Guild

Blackthorn Grill (Benefit for American Cancer Society)

Highland Park Country Club (Benefit for Juvenile Cancer)

The Tonic Room, Chicago (Fundraiser for the Illinois

    Association for Marriage and Family Therapy)

The Brickyard Grill, Westmont (Green Party Fundraiser)

Central Lake YMCA (Vernon Hills)


Farmer’s Market (Grayslake)

Westmoreland Country Club

House Parties

Contact Information

To be added to her mailing list, e-mail: belladonnablues@yahoo.com.  For more information, view “Video Clips” and listen to “Music Clips” on this Web site or go to: www.myspace.com/donnaherula.

Donna playing “Crying Won’t Help You” at the 2009 Chicago Blues Festival