Norman Sylvester’s family migrated to N.E. Portland, as many local African American families did to work in the 40’s and through the 50’s. After the Vanport flood, the Black community mostly lived in the Albina area due to “red lining”. The churches, schools & neighborhood was full of music and produced many of our Musicians of color. Norman “the Boogie Cat” as he is known, played in many Soul, Funk & Blues bands while also working full time and raising his young family. When the Trucking Company he worked for went broke in 1990, most of his children were through school and it was time to try at being a full time Musician to pay tribute to the beginnings of American music; Blues & Gospel with the Norman Sylvester band.
Norman gives his energy to many community needs with his talent and they annually work to support Benefits, Non-profits & Elderly concerts. He has been the Talent Booker of the “Inner City Blues Festival” since the start to raise funds for Jesse Jackson’s bid for the Presidency in 1988. After the first Black President was not meant to be yet, they continued the Annual Festival for many different Social Justice causes for the next 10 years.
After 10 years off, the campaign; Health Care for All-Oregon approached Norman about booking an annual Music event to fund awareness for Universal Healthcare and he has dedicated the past 9 years for that goal. Norman was one of the founding organizers of the “Good in the Hood” Festival, from 1991~2002 which was a needed event to promote safety in North Portland and to celebrate its diverse community culture. He has been so pleased that this Festival still exists & thrives today!
At 76 years old, the Boogie Cat’s biggest mission is to mentor young Artists whenever possible. For the past 25+ years his band has worked in schools as Artist in Residence. He worked with Bravo Youth Orchestra during the pandemic, as our youth needs music more than ever at this time.
See this latest History project Norman is working on: https://www.facebook.com/OldPDX/videos/701175280665403
Sponsored by Five Star Guitars