The Magic Highway


Fat K arlsson is a legendary Russian cartoon and Yellow River plays a big part in its fame.


IN the Georgian city of Tbilisi, everybody knows the legend of Mziuri .. or at least the movie Girls from Mziuri, about a ship of young musicians who travel around and make beautiful music.
    Released in 1975, the movie served as a springboard for aspiring local children to make music.
Many of those children, who are now all grown up, have continued their careers in show business, and are some of the best performers of Georgian music.
    Even today, the town of Mziuri continues to offer youngsters a chance to get a foothold in the world of professional performance.
    In the original movie, a sequence shows the girls singing the Russian version of Yellow River, which was used as a theme song for an animated show about a portly man named Karlsson.

    The Soviet animated films, created by the award-winning animation studio Soyuzmultfilm in 1970, are among the most celebrated and loved cartoons in Russia and other countries of the former USSR.
karlsson     The character was created by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, and the Russian title of the Yellow River adaptation translates literally into “Fat Karlsson”.
    The Russian version was first recorded by the Soviet pop-group Poyuschie Gitary (Singing Guitars) in 1971.
    In the 60s, the Singing Guitars were the most popular band in the USSR, whose popularity was rivalled only by The Beatles.
    The group still performs today, its members older but still fond of one of their most popular songs.
    The Lithuanian theatre group Keistuoliu Teatras (Weird Theater) recorded a version by the same name in Lithuanian, called Geltona Upe.


Here are extracts from the cartoon series, and the song performed by the UE Band.


Keistuoliu Teatras perform the Lithuanian version, called Geltona Upe.


Girls from a 2009 Russian children's show perform the Fat Karlsson song. The lead singer's name is Marina Devyatova.