Betto Arcos Betto Arcos is a freelance music journalist and a contributor to NPR programming.
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Betto Arcos

Courtesy of Betto Arcos
Betto Arcos headshot
Courtesy of Betto Arcos

Betto Arcos

Freelance Music Journalist

Betto Arcos is a freelance music journalist. He writes stories about music from around the world, with an emphasis on Latin America. He has been a contributor to NPR programming since 2009, when he began reviewing music for All Things Considered on the weekends.

Arcos writes stories about music from around the world, with an emphasis on Latin America. He has particularly enjoyed interviewing Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, classical composer Leo Brouwer, Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal, Tunisian composer Anouar Brahem and Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

Arcos is also a contributor to BBC Radio 3 Music Planet and is a music lecturer for the State Department's Foreign Service Institute. He is the author of the book "Music Stories from the Cosmic Barrio" (Fogra Editorial, 2020), and is a contributing writer for several other works, including "Cantoras Todas – La Generación del Siglo 21" (Editorial Universidad de Guadalajara, 2020) and "The Tide Was Always High – The Music of Latin America in Los Angeles" (University of California Press, 2017).

He holds a bachelor's degree with honors in journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is originally from Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.

Story Archive

Sunday

Grammy award winner Lila Downs on her most personal album yet

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Grammy award winner Lila Downs is known to sing about love, loss and her tricultural identity. But her latest album, La Sánchez, is her most personal yet. Chino Lemus hide caption

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Chino Lemus

Wednesday

Nearly 500,000 people gathered in Cali, Colombia for the 27th annual Petronio Alvarez Festival. Nidia Góngora and her group Canalón de Timbiquí performed on the main stage. Edward Lora hide caption

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Edward Lora

Welcome to 'El Petronio,' the biggest celebration of Afro-Colombian music and culture

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Saturday

Los Angeles band La Santa Cecilia is celebrating 15 years together. They recently traveled to an estate in Baja California to record a new album with friends. Humberto Howard hide caption

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Humberto Howard

La Santa Cecilia celebrates its quinceañera with a new album

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Saturday

Colombian pianist Teresita Gómez is a legendary figure in that country's classical music scene. Akiro Palacio/The Cartagena Music Festival hide caption

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Akiro Palacio/The Cartagena Music Festival

At 3 she snuck in to play piano, at nearly 80, she's a Colombian classical legend

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Tuesday

French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf performs during the Nice Jazz Festival in southeastern France in July 2019. Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images

Trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf steps out of his comfort zone with 'Capacity to Love'

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Saturday

Thousands of fans have showed up across the U.S., Spain and Latin America to see legendary singer Joan Manuel Serrat on his farewell tour. Tania Victoria/Secretary of Culture of Mexico City hide caption

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Tania Victoria/Secretary of Culture of Mexico City

Saturday

A scene from "Entremeses Cervantinos," three one-act plays written by Miguel de Cervantes, at Plaza San Roque, Guanajuato, Mexico. Germán Romero, courtesy of Cervantino International Festival hide caption

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Germán Romero, courtesy of Cervantino International Festival

Festival Cervantino, Latin America's biggest cultural event, returns with new energy

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Sunday

Mexican tenor Javier Camarena's recital at the LA Opera. Lawrence K. Ho hide caption

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Lawrence K. Ho

How Italian opera influenced Mexican ranchera

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Thursday

Over the years, Gaby Moreno has shared the stage with a wide array of artists, including Tracy Chapman, Calexico and Punch Brothers. Alejandra Barragán hide caption

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Alejandra Barragán

Gaby Moreno is making music on her terms

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Sunday

Miguel Peña and Juan Carlos Allende, Los Macorinos. Photo by Alejandra Barragán. Alejandra Barragán hide caption

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Alejandra Barragán

Los Macorinos, the unsung heroes of Latin and Mexican music

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Friday

Wednesday

The Colombian group Itinerante. Juan Diego Muñoz hide caption

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Juan Diego Muñoz

Meet Itinerante, a trio reviving Colombia's Andean music

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Saturday

For the past month, Isaac and Nora have been on tour in Latin America. They're accompanied by their parents. Ximena and Sergio hide caption

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Ximena and Sergio

Meet Isaac and Nora, two French kids who are big in Latin American music

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Saturday

The members of C4 Trio, L-R: Rodner Padilla, Edward Ramírez, Héctor Molina and Jorge Glem José Blanco/Courtesy of GroundUP Music hide caption

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José Blanco/Courtesy of GroundUP Music

The cuatro players of C4 Trio are the future of Venezuela's national instrument

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Monday

An icon of traditional Mexican music, Vicente Fernández, dies at 81

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Sunday

Victoria Sur José Luis Martínez hide caption

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José Luis Martínez

Victoria Sur nets a Latin Grammy nomination with airy lullabies she wrote for her kids

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Wednesday

Googoosh Reza Teimouri/courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Reza Teimouri/courtesy of the artist

Iranian Singer Googoosh Raises Her Voice To Keep Her Nation's Culture Alive

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Friday

Sergio Arau (center) poses with fellow Botellita de Jerez bandmates. They were one of the most influential groups in the '80s after rock re-emerged in Mexico following 15 years of censorship and repression. Lourdes Grobet hide caption

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Lourdes Grobet

'Rompan Todo' Explores A Turbulent History Of Latin America Through Rock Music

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Tuesday

Silvio Rodrí­guez's latest album is called Para la espera. Gabriel Guerra Bianchini hide caption

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Gabriel Guerra Bianchini

On 'Para La Espera,' Silvio Rodríguez Combines The Personal And Political

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Friday

From right to left: Candelas Guitars owner Tomás Delgado, musician and customer Stephanie Amaro and her husband, guitarist Andy Abad. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

How A Historic LA Guitar Shop Is Fighting To Stay Afloat During The Pandemic

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Saturday

Ballaké Sissoko, Driss El Maloumi and Rajery are masters of three different stringed instruments from three different African cultures. Together, they are a trio called 3MA. Cyrille Choupas/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Cyrille Choupas/Courtesy of the artist

3 Musicians, 51 Strings: 3MA On Redefining African Musical Traditions

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Saturday

The Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes says that Guinga's melodies are incredible. "They're unique; they're different," he says. Manfred Pollert/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Manfred Pollert/Courtesy of the artist

The Brazilian Guitarist Beloved By Musicians Around The World

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Saturday

Nella's latest album, Voy, has earned the singer a 2019 Latin Grammy nomination. Nina Rodriguez/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Nina Rodriguez/Courtesy of the artist

Nella Wants To Be A Voice Of Hope For Venezuela

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