Farmer’s Market: The calming effect of music
By Jill Alexander
If you’re looking to groove a little bit while perusing the aisles of the Scripps Ranch Farmer’s Market on Thursdays, no problem.
Thanks to Julius Alcantara, also known as DJ Basico, you can get your salsa on, bop to hip-hop or remi-
niscence with 1970s tunes while checking out the fruits, veggies and more at the weekly venue.
Alcantara, 50, has been DJing at the market after hitting up the market manager for a try since April.
“It’s my way of connecting to people and feeling like I am doing something,” said the 20-year veteran Navy military policeman, who served the last four years of his military career deployed in the Middle East.
His DJing journey began when Alcantara retired from military life and struggled to fit in as a civilian and work a regular job.
One thing about those in the military and those who have PTSD is that it’s not about the war, but the structure that is instilled in them, Alcantara said.
“We lose that when we get out of the military and take a civilian job,” he said. “It was hard for me to have a good relationship with my co-workers. We have an ego that says we are the military, and we feel like we are privileged in some respects.”
But not everyone feels the same way about the military and those who have served, so often things aren’t smooth sailing.
“That is what triggers us and that’s the problem. Not everyone looks at us as the same,” he said. “When people aren’t impressed and don’t give that respect that we are used to, we are triggered. I think that the military needs to stop doing that – stop telling us that because when we get out and we don’t get it, we get triggered.”
To help fight his PTSD, Alcantara joined a suicide prevention group at the VA to learn to cope with his depression and stress.
“Because I was feeling like I wasn’t getting recognition, and not being relevant, I started dancing the salsa four years ago because it offers structure, and I fell in love with it,” he said.
Alcantara became an instructor and decided he wanted to make strong connections with people.
“While dancing, I felt I was connecting to the music and also saw that the DJ was connecting to the people through the music he was playing,” Alcantara said. “I saw people dancing to the music, and bopping their heads. I said that’s what I want to do, be a DJ and connect.”
Since DJing, Alcantara said he is much calmer and believes he is making a difference.
“For me, music is the language that a lot of us speak and it stays away from politics and religion and all that stuff,” he said. “I do like it when someone comes up to me and says, ‘I loved your music.’ I know then that I connected with someone and made a difference in that person’s life whether it was for 2 minutes or 3 minutes; I made a connection and it’s healing to me.”
Visit DJ Basico at the Scripps Ranch Farmer’s Market by following his music from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. each Thursday at 10045 Carroll Canyon Road.