Yes, it was the music of mandolinist Don Vappie that you heard last night. Vappie, the New Orleans native and past Port Townsend Country Blues Festival faculty member, created the original score for PBS’s American Masters series profile on Zora Neale Hurston, "Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun", which premiered April 9.
Zora Neale Hurston is known as one of the truly great American writers for her novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God". She is also famous for her other novels, essays, and plays. She was the first African American to graduate from Barnard College, was a charter member of the Harlem Renaissance, and a noted ethnographer who documented Southern black traditions.
Don Vappie grew up soaked in the unique Creole heritage of New Orleans. He says: “We grow up with a natural ability to feel rhythm in New Orleans. I mean we live it.” Don and his band, the Creole Serenaders—like an afternoon dose of café au lait and beignets—are breathing new life into traditional New Orleans music.