About Agúzate

Henry Cole & The Afrobeat Collective – Photo by Eduardo Ortiz

Agúzate is an organization dedicated to the promotion of independent Latin music in Chicago, with an emphasis on Afro-Latin culture. What started as a small live salsa and latin-jazz calendar in 2003, has now evolved to a unique multi-arts production team in charge of some of the highest quality Latin music projects in the city. For the last 10 years Agúzate has collaborated with the most distinguished music programers in Chicago, including The Old Town School of Folk Music, Sound Culture, The Chicago Cultural Center, The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, The Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, and Mayne Stage.

Agúzate’s signature event, the decade-old Annual Tribute to the Improvisational Singer has inspired a number of subsequent projects, including the documentary “Alive and Kicking: La Historia de Chamaco Ramírez” and the Annual Afro-Caribbean Improvised Music Festival.

What is the meaning of the word?
In Latin American Spanish Agúzate is a call to action: “Be aware”, “Stay sharp” or “Don’t miss out” are all good definitions of the word. Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz’s 1970 album titled Agúzate made its mark in Latin music history. Along with other seminal works of that rich musical period, Agúzate propelled the world phenomenon that we now call Salsa. A mix of Jazz, R&B and Afro-Caribbean music, Salsa brought together a broad mix of musicians, dancers and enthusiasts with diverse cultural backgrounds. In keeping with that unifying tradition, Agúzate celebrates the diversity of our city through innovative programing and partnerships with the most respected artistic and cultural organizations in the Chicago area and beyond.

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