Between her debut at Auckland's legendary bar The Gluepot in 1989 and
touring solo in Europe Donna has worked with some of the greats of
songwriting, in a supporting role for some and in recording sessions with
others. Among them Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, Russell Smith & Jimmy
Webb. Donna has collaborated with New Zealand songwriters Grahame Downes,
(The Verlaines) Glen Moffatt, Kylie Harris, Kevin Greaves and Kevin Byrt
and toured the North Island of NZ with Barry Saunders (NZ) and Jeff Lang
(Aus). Other support gigs include opening for Jon Cleary, (USA) Katy
Moffatt (USA) Eric Taylor (USA) in Germany and Connie Lush (UK) in London.
Donna was a feature artist at Europe's biggest trucker festival in 2000
where Willie Nelson headlined.
This Roots-Blues songwriter sings about the dark in the world with a
lyrical message of hope. Dean's fan base is Germany where she began
touring in 1998 but growing interest in the London based artist will see
her touring Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy and Greece next summer. A
new CD ( her 4th) recorded in Nashville is due for release in New Zealand
later this year and in Europe early 2002.
She was born Donna Kouka in Auckland, New Zealand. Her mother, a
professional guitarist with a love of Hawaiian music, was at home on stage
with legends Bill Savesi and Bill Wolfgram. Donna's grandfather was a lap
steel guitarist who played in Hawaiian dance hall bands during the 1940's
& 50's. Donna's father played mandolin and ukulele with a particular
feel recognized immediately as coming from his indigenous Maori roots.
Musical memories from childhood are of family gatherings where her mother
picked Jimmy Rodgers and Gene Autry songs on her guitar. Her grandfather's
versions of 12th Street Rag and Wailana and the distinctive Hawaiian style
of Frank Farera were often accompanied by her father's unmistakable South
Pacific ukulele playing.
Who is she listening to currently? Hank Williams III, Keb Mo, Lucinda
Williams and John Hiatt.
For more information or to join Donna's email list go to