'I knew he was a star': Former refugee releases CD on P.E.I.

He arrived on P.E.I. a decade ago from a Bhutanese refugee camp. Now Parshu Giri is about to release his first CD.

Parshu Giri thanks Birchwood teacher who encouraged him to sing

Parshu Giri rehearses for his CD launch at HomeTown Musik, a recording studio in P.E.I. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

It's been more than a decade since Parshu Giri arrived on P.E.I. from a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal.

Now the 23-year-old is about to launch his first CD, produced in Nepal and P.E.I., featuring songs in Nepalese. 

"I've always had an interest in music since I was very small," said Giri, a fourth-year business student at UPEI.

"This is definitely going to be my career, in music."

Few would be more proud than Frances Squire, his homeroom teacher when the family moved to Charlottetown in December 2006.

'He loved to sing'

"A very short time after we met I could tell he loved to sing and he would sing a lot in his own language and dance around," said Squire, a language arts teacher at Birchwood Intermediate.

"Any opportunity he could get at centre stage, he was there."

Squire encouraged him to share his musical talents. She remembers his first performance at an International Tea House.

"The second the microphone was in his hand, I knew he was a star," she said. 

"It was just so natural for him."

Birchwood Intermediate teacher Frances Squire says Giri 'loved to sing and he would sing a lot in his own language and dance around.' (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Giri remembers it fondly.

"That's when my musical career in P.E.I. started," he said.

Squire was also one of the first people to see the new CD, after her former student dropped by to give her an autographed copy.

"He wrote a little note on it and he was so appreciative," she said. "He said thank you for everything you have done for me.

This is the language of music, you don't really need to know the language- Music producer Isaiah Presley

"I'm just thrilled to pieces that he thought enough of his teacher, in junior high school, to come back and say I'd like to give you this."

Squire describes Giri as a role model, and says her Bhutanese students are impressed she knows him.

"He'll tell them work hard and you can do what you set out to do, pretty cool," she said.

Giri gave Squire an autographed copy of the new CD. (Submitted by Frances Squire)

Giri has also found some new fans on P.E.I. at HomeTown Musik, where he recorded the CD.

His fellow recording artists and his P.E.I. producer are all excited by his music.

"I looked at the album and I was, 'the songs you have are just beautiful,'" said producer Isaiah Presley, a recording artist from Nigeria.

While they can't speak Nepalese, the singers at HomeTown Musik say they can still appreciate Giri's talent.

"This is the language of music, you don't really need to know the language," Presley said.

The CD was inspired, in part, by two trips that Giri made back to Nepal in 2013 and 2015. He has also worked with producers and recording artists there, and part of his first music video was filmed in Nepal.

Giri has also found some new fans at HomeTown Musik, where he recorded the CD. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

"Back and forth between Nepal and here because it's really tough being here when you have composers composing songs for you in Nepal," Giri said.

"People live breathe and music in Nepal so I'm really happy this album is coming out."

The CD, called Pari, will be officially launched Oct. 21.