Music plays a big role in religious celebrations, and the Louisiana Folklife Program is looking to identify traditional sacred music ensembles of all faiths.

Program Director Maida Owens said this project is part of a larger project to document Baton Rouge traditions.

To see the work already done, visit louisianafolklife.org/batonrouge/.

“Very little documentation has been done about sacred music in Baton Rouge,” Owens said. “Since faith communities are such an important part of Baton Rouge, it is important to include traditions practiced in churches, synagogues and temples.”

The music can be instrumental or vocal. The music groups may perform only in their faith community or in other settings.

Owens said selected groups will be documented with interviews and photographs that will be included in an essay for the Folklife in Louisiana website. The gathered materials will be archived at LSU.

If you have suggestions of groups to be considered, contact Owens at folklife@crt.la.gov or (225) 342-8178.

As in many traditions, music can be found early in Christianity’s history.

In Genesis 4:21, the Bible tells of a brother named Jubal, “He was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.”

On the opposite end of the Bible, Revelation 15 says the people who are “victorious over the beast” “held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb.” The chapter goes on to give the song’s lyrics.

And instructions given to the early church included Ephesians 5:18-19: “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.”

If you need more biblical music, turn to the middle. Psalms, the largest book of the Bible, is a song book.