We wanted to take a moment to spotlight the fantastic talent and tenacity of Britain based drummer Cornel Hrisca-Munn. The awe inspiring way in which his Youtube videos show him performing drum based cover’s of hit pop songs like Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” without having properly grown arms, has turned him into a viral sensation. In a matter of days Cornel’s unexpected hit drum covers have touched online viewers from all over the world. We couldn’t help but be touched as well. Soon we came to discover that these remarkable videos were only the surface of a much deeper story of overcoming immense odds to do great things.
After doing a bit of research, we learned that 20 year old Cornel lives in England now, but is of Romanian decent. Unfortunately while reading Cornel’s bio, we also learned that Romanian culture, thanks in part to their years of being controlled by a dictatorship government, values the severely disabled less than animals. As a result, shortly after he was born, he was taken to an orphanage against his parent’s wishes. He was expected to die soon after.
Against the earliest of odds Cornel did not die, and his parents were able to find him. Although they didn’t have the means to provide the care he needed, help was also soon found in a visiting UK based aid worker, Doreen Munn. After meeting him, Doreen returned to England, and eventually enlisted the help necessary to get him the free health care that he badly needed. Unfortunately due to complexities related to his disability, that pursuit of better health lead the attending doctors to realize, that after already being born without arms, Cornel would also have to have his right leg amputated for the better of his long term health.
In spite of all of that, Cornel maintained an unflinching attitude. He trudged through struggle in the face of hardship. His amputation and every other challenge his physical condition presented was taken in stride, and with the help of Doreen Munn and her husband Ken, who officially adopted him in in 1994, he grew into having a life style and character that always directed him to see the positive in a situation.
To help him sustain,supplement, and forge this all too crucial attitude, Cornel turned to Music. Although he doesn’t even have hands, he reportedly learned to play the drums “left handed” when he was 14 years old. He then went on to compete in a national drumming competition, where he came in second out of 400 people. He discussed his successful technique in a video on his now famous Youtube channel.
“I play a normal right handed kit set up, but have an artificial right leg, so use my (real) left leg on the bass drum for quicker beats.”
This mix of natural talent and the need to think outside the box lead to him viewing music with a unique approach as well. This uniqueness was particularly cool to see within him, because all accounts indicate that he used music to enrich his identity and grow to become a person that goes well beyond the trappings of his disability. He discussed that passion for music in a recent interview with MSNBC.com.
“When I started high school I quite fancied learning a music strument. I looked into it and thought the drums would be the only instrument I would be physically capable of,” he says. “I started having lessons, then a couple of years later started to teach. Over the years, I grew more and more passionate about the drums, and kept playing! I also taught myself to play the bass, and have been doing that for a few years.”
When Cornel isn’t expressing his passion for music in his band “The City Walls”, this self described “servant of God”, continues to work tirelessly as one of the most impressive disabled persons’ activists we’ve ever seen. According to his online biography, Cornel has regularly raised thousands of dollars to help others through out his entire young life. He is currently a student of philosophy and theology at Oxford University.
Cheers to you Cornel. We can’t wait to see what you do next. Go get em!
Watch Cornel at work below
Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”
Drum Cover by Cornel Hrisca-Munn
DJ Fresh’s “Hot RIght Now” Featuring Rita Ora
Drum Cover by Cornel Hrisca-Munn