A disabled second year student at Keble College has gone viral on YouTube with 150,000 hits and counting for his drum cover of “Hot Right Now” by DJ Fresh.
Cornel Hrisca-Munn, a student of Philosophy and Theology, was born with a twisted right leg and without any lower arms. In spite of such disabilities, he recorded and posted thirteen videos of his drumming during the Easter vacation, several of which have received well over 100,000 views.
Asked about the reasons behind his snowballing success, Hrisca-Munn answered “I guess there aren’t that many disabled drummers on YouTube.”
Hrisca-Munn is no stranger to media attention, and his entrance to Oxford was documented by the Daily Mail in an article which championed his strength in overcoming his “bleak” upbringing. He was abandoned in an orphanage by his parents at the age of seven months. Two aid workers brought him back to England for treatment, including amputation, and subsequently adopted him.
Hrisca-Munn told Cherwell that he became passionate about playing the drums in high school, explaining, “Initially it was an instrument I thought I could manage, that I could start learning. Then I really took to it and just carried on. I did not think I would get this far!”
When asked for the reasons behind his turning to YouTube, he explained, “I’ve always wanted to do some drum covers, some songs are just begging for drums. Initially I started [recording videos of his drumming] out of boredom. I thought I would do it as I had so much time on my hands
“I just wanted to do it for fun,” he continued, “I saw other people posting covers on YouTube and thought I would give it a go.”
Hrisca-Munn recorded all thirteen tracks in a single day during the vacation, including a cover of “Call me maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, which has received over 120,000 views, and “The Adventures of Raindance Maggie” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
He describes his technique as improvisation, explaining, “I sort of make it up as I go along.”
When asked how far he wished to pursue his passion, Hrisca-Munn answered, “I’m not sure really. It was so causal to start with and it went a lot further than I could ever have imagined.”
He thinks a lot of the interest has been fuelled by “curiosity,” though added, “Some of it might be pity, which is a shame.”
The YouTube videos have gathered momentum over the past few days following coverage by CBS News and the Huffington Post. Hrisca-Munn explained, “I came back from a tute this week and I had received 500 email notifications from Youtube comments.”
Hrisca-Munn has also been asked for an interview by one of the chief editors of MTV this Sunday. “It will be amazing,” he says, “this should really push things further.” He has also been invited to play at several festivals in the Netherlands in June.
Response to the videos has been unanimously positive, with one commenter posting on the Huffington Post article, “This is a demonstration of the human spirit and its ability to endure. Difficult to compare to so many who have much to be thankful for but do nothing but complain out of an undeserved feeling of entitlement.”