Apr 18, 2014 — Life, death and piety are the recurring themes in hauntingly beautiful alabados preserved by lay brothers called penitentes. "You have to feel them," one says. "You have to feel them in your soul."
Jan 3, 2014 — The mariachi Mass brings an ensemble of garishly dressed folk musicians — with their guitars, trumpets and violins — right down to the front of the church, where they play liturgical music.
Dec 26, 2013 — Josh Garrels says his music tries to "peel back layers" of what it means to be a Christian. He says he's given away 153,000 digital copies of his breakout album, Love & War & The Sea in Between.
Dec 5, 2013 — Can non-belief in God become a belief system itself? NPR's John Burnett has the story of the Texas indie band Quiet Company, who made a splash with a surprisingly positive album about frontman Taylor Muse's crisis of faith.
Nov 7, 2013 — Kanniks Kannikeswaran writes groundbreaking Hindu sacred music and forms community choirs to perform it. "When a group of about 20 strangers get together and sing raga-based music with choral harmony for the first time," he says, "something magical begins to happen."
Oct 27, 2013 — If it's Sunday in Houston, get ready to dance up and down the aisle at church. Zydeco music is the soundtrack to spirit-filled parties fueled by beer, boudin, and red beans and rice. It's a joyful continuation of a decades-old tradition.
Oct 19, 2013 — The trumpeter and bandleader premiered his gospel-jazz Abyssinian Mass back in 2008. But now, accompanied by a 70-voice choir, he's taking the sprawling work on the road and into African-American churches — whose services were the inspiration for the piece.
Oct 16, 2013 — The Modzitzer sect of Chasidic Judaism, which originated in the Polish town of Modzitz, is known for its beautiful melodies. Among the most emblematic and prolific composers in this tradition is Brooklynite Ben Zion Shenker — who, at 88, continues to create new works.
Oct 15, 2013 — Hidden deep in the hills of Appalachia, there's a tradition of worship music that has not changed since the 18th century. The hymnody is still practiced by congregations of the Old Regular Baptist Church, where a leader calls out a line and the people respond in a mournful, soaring chorus.
Sep 18, 2013 — For the Church of the Living God in Toccopola, Miss., the lap steel guitar channels the voice of God through hymns and improvised solos that mix gospel, blues and country.