“Like any of your senses — the act of listening to a song can conjure up feelings and, in this case, a love of your college days,” says Darla Bea ’03. As Stevie Wonder once said, “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.”

Sporting slews of rave reviews from national wedding websites and voted Santa Barbara’s favorite DJ for six years in a row, Bea has made a career out of homing in on the visceral, emotional connection that tunes play in our lives. “Rock it Properly,” her weekly radio show that’s been running on KCSB since 2007, is a meticulously researched round-up of fun facts and musical magic.

“Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.”

When last year’s All Gaucho Reunion had to go virtual, Bea helped to make it memorable by creating seven different GauchoBeats playlists, curated by decade, from 1939 to the present. From Bill Haley & His Comets’ “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” and The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” to Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance,” these Spotify playlists of feel-good tunes brought some much-needed positivity during some rather grim days.

Of her time at UC Santa Barbara, Bea says, “The magic and music were always a thing that drew me out to hear bands play in Isla Vista and at UCSB, and of course I knew I was going to get an excellent education. I just wanted to be part of that.”

A Santa Barbara native who lived at home during college, she says, “I did not have a car, had a bus pass. I spent a lot of time on campus in the library and the bookstore. I loved looking at all the media out there; it was a really good bookstore. And every once in a while I’d have to call my dad to get me because I missed the last bus.”

Known for her colorful wigs, kicky costumes and eclectic mixes, Bea still comes to campus every Sunday to host radio show, and says one of her goals is to “expand your narrow way of thinking about music. The world is a lot smaller when you can grasp a culture, or an era, through their music.”

#GauchoBeats Playlists

2010-2021

2000-2010

1990-1999

1980-1989

 

1970-1979

 

1960-1969

 

1939-1959

Additional Stories

In Every Issue


On Campus

Short takes, lively stories and snapshot looks at the UC Santa Barbara campus and community open a window into our dynamic environment and diverse culture.

View All On Campus

Alumni

Alumni profiles, news bites and insights both from and about the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association foster a strong sense of connection and Gaucho pride.

View All Alumni


Fall / Winter 2021

Features


Junior guard Ajare Sann

Bringing Back the Heat

Danae Miller, left, and Ila Lane are back in the Thunderdome this season

It’s Tip-Off Time

Christina LoCascio’s art collage.

Where Palate Meets Palette