KENYA: Apparel company boss inspiring crowds through songs

MOMBASA: Thomas Puthoor has carved a niche for himself in the garment manufacturing industry. His height and gait give one the impression of a Bollywood movie star. He is a great gospel singer.
He performed at the Jomvu Lighthouse Church in Mombasa the other day, and with his group of youthful children, Puthoor worked the crowd into a frenzy.

His Indian-African fusion dancing style, coupled with his Swahili-Asian singing at crusades and other events have made him a great attraction. On stage, he surges forward with gestures that are in rhythm with the guitar and keyboard.

Gospel music is currently a sensation in Mombasa, and Puthoor is emerging as a serious contender for glory. He is a gospel musician with a difference, and this belies the fact that he is a company executive of Kapric Apparels, one of the largest garment manufacturing companies in Mombasa, that employs more than 2,000 people.

What makes his music more appealing and interesting and leaves audiences hollering for more is the way he has blended Kiswahili into his Indian tunes. He is probably one of the first gospel musicians of Indian origin in Kenya.

His singing in Kiswahili, he says, was influenced by musician and producer Emmanuel Emachichi, who has since died.

The desire to spread the word of God made the Mombasa-based singer pursue his passion through music. His album in Kiswahili was produced in March 2005. And currently he is working in collaboration with Monica Minyoso to produce his English album that is expected to be launched in Mombasa soon.

It is through his ministry of Shalom Music that the singer has produced six Christian devotional Hindi Albums namely Pukar Volumes 1 to 6, with 10 tracks each.

And out of the desire to reach people of other nationalities, he has gone an extra mile to sing in Swahili and English.

Puthoor says he has decided to sing for Kenya for the people's calmness and hospitality. The 50-year-old explains that his talent was noticed at the age of 8 at his Kerla home in Mumbai, India.

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Added: October 30, 2007 Source: Agencies
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