Support
provided by:
close
 
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.

Watch In New Mexico, A Brotherhood Of Ancient Hymns

April 18, 2014 – Life, death and piety are the recurring themes in the hauntingly beautiful hymns called alabados.

ListenPlaylist

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.

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

January 3, 2014 – As the Latino population surges, the sound of violins and trumpets in church will likely spread.

ListenPlaylist

In his music, Josh Garrels says, he tries to "peel back layers" of what it means to be a Christian.

Read A Christian Musician With More Questions Than Answers

December 26, 2013 – Josh Garrels says his music tries to "peel back layers" of what it means to be a Christian.

ListenPlaylist

Taylor Muse (front), lead singer of the Austin indie-rock band Quiet Company, says the group is ready to be seen as more than just "the atheist band."

Read For An Ex-Christian Rocker, Faith Lost Is A Following Gained

December 5, 2013 – Quiet Company, a Texas indie rock outfit, would rather not be known as "that atheist band."

ListenPlaylist

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

Watch Across America, Voices Rise To Reinvent India

November 7, 2013 – Kanniks Kannikeswaran writes innovative Hindu sacred music and forms community choirs to perform it.

ListenPlaylist

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

Watch Accordions, Beer And God: Zydeco In Gran Texas

November 3, 2013 – If it's Sunday in Houston, get ready to dance up and down the aisle at church.

ListenPlaylist

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis performs his Abyssinian Mass in 2008.

Watch Wynton Marsalis Goes Back To Church For 'Abyssinian Mass'

October 19, 2013 – The trumpeter and bandleader is touring his gospel-jazz Abyssinian Mass — with a 70-voice choir.

ListenPlaylist

Ben Zion Shenker (right) is a world-renowned composer in the Modzitzer tradition of Chasidic Judiaism.

Watch The Greatest Living Figure Of Chasidic Music

October 16, 2013 – Brooklynite Ben Zion Shenker, 88, is among the most emblematic composers in his tradition.

ListenPlaylist

Elwood Cornett is the  moderator, the church's term for preacher, of the entire Indian Bottom Association of Old Regular Baptists.

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

October 15, 2013 – Old Regular Baptists in Appalachia still sing a mournful, soaring type of call-and-response hymns.

ListenPlaylist

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.

Watch Sacred Strings Guide Gospel Through Thunder And Steel

September 18, 2013 – For the Church of the Living God in Toccopola, Miss., the lap steel guitar channels a divine voice.

ListenPlaylist

The Renaissance Street Singers give a performance at the Winterdale Arch, near the West 81st Street gate in Central Park.

Watch Atheists Take Old Hymns Out Of The Chapel And Into The Streets

August 25, 2013 – For 40 years, the Renaissance Street Singers have given free public performances of sacred music.

ListenPlaylist

Riad Abdel-Gawad creates new Sufi music by translating sacred chants to the violin.

Watch Sufi Mystics Get A Modern Soundtrack

August 17, 2013 – Riad Abdel-Gawad creates new Sufi music by translating sacred chants to the violin.

ListenPlaylist

Sister Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz (right), vicaress general and music director for Dominican Sisters of Mary. On the group's new album, she plays organ and composed three selections.

Watch Life As Prayer: The Singing Nuns Of Ann Arbor

August 13, 2013 – The Dominican Sisters of Mary "bring other people into that space of prayer when we're singing."

ListenPlaylist

Fred Onovwerosuoke founded the St. Louis African Chorus 20 years ago.

Read Songs Of Africa: Beautiful Music With A Violent History

August 3, 2013 – African sacred music combines the songs of oppressed people with the music of their oppressors.

ListenPlaylist

Watch In Hollywood, The Actor Who Gives The Call To Prayer

July 24, 2013 – Ben Youcef must balance life as a devout Muslim and an actor who sometimes plays Islamic extremists.

ListenPlaylist

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor