Sadar Bahar

Chicago, IL


A special guest-feature courtesy of our Montreal friends over at Morning Fever, who recently played host to the legendary Chicago DJ Sadar Bahar. They were kind enough to document their experience and dapped us off with a one-hour snippet from the night, recorded live on February 14th, 2013 at Club Lambi in the heart of Montreal. One of the liveliest and rawest mixes we’ve ever had the pleasure to share. With love. Enjoy the vibes.

“It had been three months since we first got in touch with Sadar and we were on our way to pick him up from the airport. He wanted to come a few days early to hang out and get to know Montreal, not to mention dig for records. His flight landed and we nervously waited an hour for him to cross customs. But all was good and a smiling Sadar greeted us at baggage claim. Seeing him in person brought excitement, and confirmed what we had worked on for so long was about to come to fruition.

Over the next few days we got to know a man who since the early ‘80s contributed to the evolution of underground dance music in Chicago. We learned about his life, his personal beliefs and his wisdom. He talked about his belief that he wasn’t above or below anyone – an attitude matching the message of peace and love we heard through his mixes. He talked about how many DJs today idolize him, and that he tries to remind people that despite his accomplishments, he would rather not be treated differently than others. He was incredibly friendly and even interested by us in a way that we wouldn’t have expected by a man with his background and experience.

In the day, we went for lunch with Sadar, watched some Champions League soccer, and checked out one of our favorite local record stores, Sonorama. The dig went well. Sadar picked out some great records for himself and Patrick as well. He found a copy of Macho – “Mucho Macho”, a 45 that had been on his list for many years. Milton Hamilton’s “Crystalized” was another great find and an LP that he had not come across to date. And that’s saying something. According to his good friend, Donna McGhee, Sadar couldn’t play all his records in two lifetimes.

Every evening we would convene at the apartment where we set him up, a gorgeous condo in the Mile End filled with African art and beautiful furniture that we found on Airbnb. We would partake in the blessing of cannabis and talk about life and music out on the balcony. One night we took him to a club called “Les Bobards” to check out the Kalmunity group play some live improv jazz, funk and soul over a handful of beers and some more of that funky green medicine.

We learned that Sadar tried relocating to Amsterdam a few years prior, which didn’t exactly work out as planned. Like many other DJs from the US, the motivation for his move to Europe was for more gigs and better living in a less violent society. In the end, he realized the money and easy living wasn’t enough, so he returned to Chicago where he now lives and preaches for a small congregation, which he feels brings more meaning and purpose to his life despite the staggering crime and violence he faces every day.

All that traveling around, not just to Europe but also Japan, prompted us to ask if he ever lost any records over the years, to which he responded “No, never”. He told us that one time, while boarding a plane with his 45s and 12s on him, a flight attendant asked him to put his records somewhere out of reach. He told her that his records were his life and what put food on the table and that he couldn’t risk losing them. The pilot overheard their exchange and offered to hold on to them in the cockpit. The pilot said his son was a DJ and knew what music can really mean to somebody. These are truly the types of people that keep the world going round.

On the night of the party, Sadar helped us with the setup to make sure everything sounded good and up to par. With sound, lighting and our trusted disco ball ready, all we needed was a few people to get things started. At midnight we had a good crowd and we were ready for Sadar to begin. He started his set off with Denise Lasalle – “May The Funk Be With You”, which instantly caught everyone’s attention, as if they were about to learn something. No one could have pulled everyone toward the dance floor better than Sadar did with the follow-up song, Plastic Bertrand’s “Stop Ou Encore”. Nearly everybody in Montreal knows that one and everyone at the party promptly got down to it. Apparently he had no idea we would react like that. The rest of his set was just as magical. His flow was so effortless, so real. He made it feel as if we were hanging out in his living room and he was just playing his records to his closest friends.

Morning Fever with Sadar BaharUnfortunately, time flies when you’re having fun and eventually the night came to an end. Hopefully it won’t be long until we get to see Sadar again. Ever since we first heard about him about him we’ve felt inspired and he’s a big part of why we do our Morning Fever events in Montreal. It’s about love. It’s all about the people dancing, having a good time, making friends and smiling all night. Thanks to everyone who came and made this a memorable night – and of course Sadar, you will always be an inspiration for us.

But enough about our experience. Listen to the mix we recorded from the night and cut a rug. You’ll see what we mean. Until next time!”

  • Alister

    Love the write up. Such a killer DJ and the nicest person… Saw him in Toronto on Friday the 15th.