The faithful follow penitentes — lay members of a Catholic brotherhood — to Mass at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz, N.M., on Holy Thursday in 2013. Brian Snyder/Reuters/Corbis hide caption

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In New Mexico, A Brotherhood Of Ancient Hymns

Life, death and piety are the recurring themes in the hauntingly beautiful hymns called alabados.

Jess Escalante (right), the 70-year-old founder of Mariachi Norteno, plays his guitarrón in a recent Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe inside St. Joseph Catholic Church in Houston. He's joined by Jose Martinez. John Burnett/NPR hide caption

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'Our Soul Music Is Mariachi Music': Houston's Mexican Mass

As the Latino population surges, the sound of violins and trumpets in church will likely spread.

Kanniks Kannikeswaran leads the Greater Cincinnati Indian Community Choir in 2012, as it competes at the World Choir Games in Cincinnati. Courtesy of Kanniks Kannikeswaran hide caption

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Across America, Voices Rise To Reinvent India

Kanniks Kannikeswaran writes innovative Hindu sacred music and forms community choirs to perform it.

After years of attending church dances, Step Rideau says he was moved to connect with his heritage on a deeper level. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Accordions, Beer And God: Zydeco In Gran Texas

If it's Sunday in Houston, get ready to dance up and down the aisle at church.

Ben Zion Shenker (right) is a world-renowned composer in the Modzitzer tradition of Chasidic Judiaism. Joel Lowy/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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The Greatest Living Figure Of Chasidic Music

Brooklynite Ben Zion Shenker, 88, is among the most emblematic composers in his tradition.

Church elder Elwood Cornett preaches at a recent reunion of Old Regular Baptists. Brother Don Pratt is seated behind him in a blue shirt and tie. Cindy Johnston/NPR hide caption

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Before Churches Had Songbooks, There Was 'Lined-Out' Gospel

Old Regular Baptists in Appalachia still sing a mournful, soaring type of call-and-response hymns.

The Sacred Steel tradition is an integral part of worship. From the House of God Keith Dominion Church, Aubrey Ghent (pictured) helped revive the style in 1990s. Brad Gregory/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Sacred Strings Guide Gospel Through Thunder And Steel

For the Church of the Living God in Toccopola, Miss., the lap steel guitar channels a divine voice.