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Traveling musician stops in Fargo in hopes of breaking the record for longest ukulele playing session

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FARGO—Don Ho had a "hit" with it. So did Tiny Tim.

Why then, is the Ukulele often the Rodney Dangerfield of string instruments.

You will have to ask a Ukulele playing man who is in Fargo at the Red Raven Coffee Shop trying to break a World Record, for Ukulele playing.

The task seems daunting, sitting on a stool, plucking and strumming the 4-strings of a Baritone Ukulele.

For Julian Ruck, it is life of a road musician.

"I take Greyhound, actually, not a car, it is a money pit, on the bus I can work and contact people and keep this momentum going," said Ruck.

Since he was a boy, music has been part of his life.

"John Denver, the Carpenters, Simon and Garfunkel, that is what I grew up with. Folksy, Homespun kind of way," Ruck told us.

Lately, Julian has been crisscrossing the country, connecting with other musicians and trying to break records.

"Can be done, should be done," Ruck said.

Friday night in Fargo, Julian is hoping to break a world record, by playing the Ukulele 30-straight hours here at the Red Raven Coffee shop.

Really, the Ukulele. The butt of all string instrument jokes. Julian loves his 4 string.

Most ukuleles don't stay in tune well, not made well. Usually picked up at a touristy adventure.

His hope tonight, musicians and others will kick back and listen.

After all, Julian says, we are all musicians.

"It is alright, it is ukelele," said Red Raven customer Tony Albright.

Julian gets a break now and then.

For every hour of playing, he gets a 5-minute break.

He's ready for the sore fingers and cramped hands, and the opportunity to make a little history, with this misunderstood instrument, that Julian just can't part with.

"One thing I have learned is to find you passion and path in life, consider what you are born into that other people do not have and we had music and love and not much else," Ruck told us.

Julian hopes to break the record by 6 p.m. Saturday night.

Kevin Wallevand

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

(701) 241-5317
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