Donna Herula

Donna Herula

 Lake Forest, Illinois, USA

Donna Herula is a Chicago born blues singer and a slide guitar sensation. She has performed on stages at the Chicago Blues Festival, King Biscuit Blues Festival in Arkansas, Bayfront Blues Festival, Mother's Best Music Fest and was the winner of the 2010 Chicago Blues Challenge solo/duo category.


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.

Donna was born and raised on the northwest side of Chicago. She began playing guitar at the age of 10. By 16, she was playing lead guitar in bands and writing original blues songs.

Influenced by slide guitar players Rory Block, Bob Brozman, Bonnie Raitt, John Hammond, Jr., Eric Sardinas, and Johnny Winter, Donna set out to discover the early blues musicians that inspired these players, which included Son House, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters.

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, Arkansas (Nighthawk’s hometown), the King Biscuit Blues Festival (Helena, Arkansas), the Mother’s Best Music Festival (Helena, AK), the Bayfront Blues Festival (Duluth, MN), Blues By The Bay (East Twas, MI) and The Festival for the Eno (North Carolina).

With harpist John Jochem, Donna won the 2010 Chicago Blues Challenge, solo-duo category, and represented the Windy City Blues Society at the 2011 International Blues Challenge.

Donna’s second CD “The Moon Is Rising: Songs of Robert Nighthawk” was released in February 2011. The CD reached #32 on the Roots Music Report for most played blues album on the radio. In October 2011, Donna was nominated for the Best Female Blues Artist by the Chicago Black Music Awards.

Donna plays National steel guitars and is a featured artist on the National Reso-Phonic Guitars website.

She has been on blues radio programs including King Biscuit Time and Delta Sounds, with Sonny Payne, legendary host and member of the blues hall of fame, and Terry Buckalew, both on through the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas.

Donna plays as a soloist, and in a blues duet with her husband singer/guitarist, Tony Nardiello.

For more information, visit: or YouTube. Also, see the attached video clip.


Second self-produced CD "The Moon Is Rising: Songs of Robert Nighthawk" released in February 2011. Her first CD, "Donna Herula," was released in June 2009. To hear songs, go to or YouTube.

Set List

Donna Herula sings and plays over 3 hours of acoustic blues music. Sets are usually 50 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on the venue, she plays 1, 2 or 3 sets. Her sets consist of blues music from early female blues artists, such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Memphis Minnie as well as old time Delta and country blues from other traditional blues musicians such as Robert Johnson, Robert Nighthawk, Furry Lewis and Blind Blake. She also enjoys playing music from more recent blues artists, such as Lucinda Williams and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Examples of songs she plays are listed below:
Good Old Wagon -- Bessie Smith
Lost Your Head Blues – Bessie Smith
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out – Jimmy Cox/Bessie Smith
I Got to Make a Change – Memphis Minnie
It’s Hard to be Mistreated – Memphis Minnie
Nothing in Rambling – Memphis Minnie
Blues Ain’t Nothin’ But a Woman Cryin’ for Her Man – J. Mayo Williams - Ida Cox/Georgia White
Daddy Goodbye Blues – Ma Rainey and Tampa Red