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amen brother 1


Audio performance, starring Jaśmina Polak


Music - Rafał Ryterski
Performance - Jaśmina Polak

Amen, Brother! is a track by The Winstons released in 1969. Interestingly, it serves as the B-side, an additional piece on the flip side of a vinyl record. The instrumental composition heavily draws from the gospel song creatively transformed by the band. The focal point of this interdisciplinary creation is a brief 6-second drum solo within the track, commonly known as the amen break.

In the early '80s, the emergence of hip-hop, rooted in sampling, gained popularity. A compilation of vinyl records titled Ultimate Breaks and Beats featured influential funk, soul, and disco tracks, including The Winstons' "Amen, Brother." This breakbeat found its way into hip-hop, shaping the genre's distinctive sound. However, the "amen break" transcends hip-hop; its raw sound has influenced various electronic music genres. The break has been creatively manipulated in jungle music, giving rise to subgenres like drum'n'bass and drill'n'bass. Renowned artists such as Aphex Twin and Squarepusher have harnessed its potential, contributing to the evolution of electronic music.

The legacy of the "amen break" is immeasurable, having been sampled countless times. Despite its widespread use, the original creators, The Winstons, never received royalties. The moral dilemma surrounding the use of this 6-second sample raises questions about fairness and artistic credit. Regardless, acknowledging the impact of the "amen break" pays homage to the black musicians who pioneered it and paved the way for countless others to find creative expression.

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