Percussionist. Producer. World Music Mixologist
Stephen Smith-Contreras’, aka ‘yucasoul’, multi-cultural upbringing, exposure to the arts, and travels have greatly influenced his approach to music both as a student and a teacher. His passion for percussion arts has driven him to study with master drummers in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Peru and the United States. Stephen’s percussion talents have allowed him to work with amazing musicians, both on stage and in the studio. Over the years, Stephen has shared his knowledge of Afro-Latin and World Percussion at universities, non-profits, schools and community organizations.
Stephen’s focus on music production and exploration of world music has led to the production of Yuca Frita Radio. Yuca Frita Radio has served as a podcast and a mix-tape, exploring Afro-Latin, World and Urban music through a musical journey. Stephen is currently working on his first independent album set to be released in mid-2014. More information TBA.
Since 2011, Stephen has served as a project manager for the YOLA Expo Center Youth Orchestra, an innovative partnership between the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, and the Harmony Project. Modeled after “El Sistema”, Venezuela’s national music training and youth orchestra program, the EXPO Center Youth Orchestra provides over 300 youth in South Los Angeles access to exceptional instrumental and orchestral education.
Stephen holds a graduate degree in music from California State University Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Stephen resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife Juana Rosa and sons Joaquim and Caetano.