Betto Arcos


Betto Arcos is a regular contributor to PRI's The World, covering Latin and world music. He was born in the state of Veracruz in Mexico and now lives in Los Angeles.

A native of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, Betto Arcos is an independent radio producer and host of KPFK’s world music show Global Village (Tuesdays, 11am-1:00pm, PST), a daily program he created as music director in 1997.Since 2009, he’s been a regular contributor to PRI's The World and NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered, covering Latin and world music. In addition to his public radio work, Betto co-produced three award-winning experimental radio art collaborations with performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Peña. Betto has also helped with a number of recording projects, including Ry Cooder’s “Chavez Ravine” and Lila Downs’ "La Cantina."Betto collaborated as music supervisor in the documentary films “Calavera Highway” by Renee Tajima-Peña and “2501 Migrants: A Journey” by Yolanda Cruz. In 2002, he developed and helped teach the music portion of Prof. David Carrasco’s course “Religion in the Latin American Imagination” at Harvard University. Betto graduated with honors in journalism from the University of Colorado.Betto is a foodie with no boundaries, enjoying tequila Fortaleza and rum Zacapa from Guatemala.

Musician Frilal Ortiz carries a double bass in downtown Havana

Here’s a taste of Cuban music in the time of Castro


There’s plenty more than Buena Vista Social Club.

Systema Solar at BOmm

Young musicians in Colombia talk about the prospects for peace

Juan Gabriel

Remembering the king of Latin pop — Mexico’s Juan Gabriel

Ecuador hip hop artist Mateo Kingman

Mateo Kingman makes hip-hop from his roots in the Ecuadorean Amazon

Street concert in Havana with Silvio Rodriguez on stage

Silvio Rodríguez has been playing secret free concerts in poor Cuban neighborhoods for years

Noel Petro enjoys a cup of coffee in a Bogotá cafe

Guitarist Noel Petro is also a bullfighter — sometimes at the same time


“I’ve been gored and I played with a crack in my head and three loose ribs, and the ‘donkey’ sings as if nothing happened, and after the show to the hospital!”

A Parranda with Gabriel García Márquez

The Colombian folk songs that influenced Gabriel García Márquez’s ‘magical realism’


The famed Colombian novelist influenced fiction writers around the world. A major source of inspiration for his own work was a form of Colombian folk music called Vallenato.

Mateo Kingman

Mateo Kingman makes hip-hop from his roots in the Ecuadorian Amazon


Mateo Kingman grew up in a small town deep in the Amazon. He didn’t know the depth of his connection to the jungle until it moved to the city, where music helped him cope.

Melón on stage in Mexico City at Salon Los Angeles.

This singer made Cuban music accessible to a Mexican audience


We remember one of the great singers of Afro-Cuban music. But he wasn’t Cuban. “Melón” died on Monday in Mexico City at the age of 85.

Nicaragua's La Cuneta Son Machín

This Grammy-nominated band from Nicaragua is keeping it in the family


La Cuneta Son Machín is a band from Nicaragua composed of young musicians whose older family members were musical superstars during the Sandinista regime. They didn’t want to sound old, but they wanted to use the same record producer, which has resulted in a Grammy nomination.