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

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

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

toggle caption
Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1145039325/1145716321" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
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

toggle caption
Germán Romero, courtesy of Cervantino International Festival

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1132396255/1132633524" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sunday

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

toggle caption
Lawrence K. Ho

How Italian opera influenced Mexican ranchera

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1124403545/1127734235" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
Alejandra Barragán

Gaby Moreno is making music on her terms

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1122545996/1123289535" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sunday

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

toggle caption
Alejandra Barragán

Los Macorinos, the unsung heroes of Latin and Mexican music

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1114313980/1116241876" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Friday

Wednesday

The Colombian group Itinerante. Juan Diego Muñoz hide caption

toggle caption
Juan Diego Muñoz

Meet Itinerante, a trio reviving Colombia's Andean music

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1109727373/1110156067" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
Ximena and Sergio

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1102668843/1103172363" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
José Blanco /Courtesy of GroundUP Music

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1073160436/1075049636" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Monday

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1063593963/1063593964" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sunday

Victoria Sur José Luis Martínez hide caption

toggle caption
José Luis Martínez

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1055608435/1055640701" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Wednesday

Googoosh Reza Teimouri/courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Reza Teimouri/courtesy of the artist

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1041553988/1041625420" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
Lourdes Grobet

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/949584350/950314987" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Tuesday

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

toggle caption
Gabriel Guerra Bianchini

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

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/917829236/921782186" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript