We’ve updated our Terms of Use to reflect our new entity name and address. You can review the changes here.
We’ve updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Kalos Diskos: Greek Folk & Popular Songs in NYC ca. 1952​-​56

by Nikos Pourpourakis, Thodoros Kavourakis, Angeliki Palagoudi, Andreas Poggis & friends

Eskoutari 03:02
E Orfania 03:13
Kaimak 03:12


The Kalos Diskos label was formed around 1952 through the meeting of a New York music impresario named John Miller with a young, fresh-off-the-boat bouzouki player named Nikos Pourpourakis. Pourpourakis was born May 5, 1930 on the Oinousses islands near Chios to parents John and Pagona Koutsodakis who were refugees from present-day Turkey. The first Kalos Diskos releases combined Pourpourakis’s musical direction with singers Virginia Magidou, a staple of the New York Greek nightclub scene, Roza Eskenazi a star in Athens who was then on tour from the old country with her accompanist Agapios Tomboulis, the singers Thodoros Kavourakis (b. April 17, 1923) and his singing partner Angeliki Palagoudi (b. 1926) with a rotating cast of accompanists including the violinist Andonis Loris and guitarist / bouzouki player Thanassis Athanasiou.

On March 8, 1953 Eskenazi, “The Nightingale of Athens,” was the star attraction at a concert at the Capitol Hotel at the corner of 8th Ave. and 51st St. that included Agapios Tomboulis, Virginia Magidou, the full Kalos Diskos compania of Pourpourakis, Kavourakis, and Palagoudi, as well as the Greek dancer Tatianna and the orchestra of John Degaitas, billed as: “A Night to Remember. Exotic Dances. Oriental Beauty.” for $2.50 at the door (about $28 in 2022). Both Magidou and Eskenazi were born in the late 19th century, a full generation or more older than Pourpourakis, Kavourakis, and Palagoudi.

Rehearsals for the Kalos Diskos releases took place in the basement of the Cosmos Music store that Miller ran. The recordings were made in the Nola studio in the penthouse of 111 West 57th St. Around the label’s twentieth release, they were joined by the violinist Andreas Poggis (b. Sept. 6, 1906; d. 1964), a serious professional musician who was from the island Samos. When Pourpourakis went to play in Boston 1955 for a huge salary hike of $100 a week, Poggis took over musical direction for the final dozen or so releases. In total, the label issued over 70 songs in about five years, including performances by some excellent performers and spanning a repertoire of modern popular Athenian songs, folk songs, and some original material

Pourpourakis began playing violin, banjo, and lauto at age 9. As a young man he was a seaman on merchant ships during which time he bought a cheap bouzouki in Crete. In 1950, while docked at Norfolk, Virginia, he jumped ship. From there, he made his way first to Baltimore where his sister Katie (b. 1933; d. 2016) had married an Italian named Carmen D’Anna who owned the Mars supermarket near the city’s thriving Greektown. Pourpourakis then made his way quickly to New York City where, in the early 50s, he played bouzouki in the Manhattan "oriental" nightclubs near 8th Avenue including the Brittania, Port Said, and the Parthenon with the circle of Nick Doneff, Marko Melkon, and Amalia Bakas. In the South End of Boston, he played at the Club Khiam and Zara Club with Udi Hrant and the dancer Morocco among many others. (Local newspapers in mid-1955 were amused by his exotic instrument, the bouzouki then being largely unknown to non-Greeks in the U.S., when the owners of Khiam brought a case against Pourpourakis for having breeched his contract by performing at Zara for more money.) By the 1960s, he had relocated to Chicago where he changed his professional surname to Dakis. He returned to New York City in the mid-60s and then went to Cleveland around 1968, when he also appeared as on the Mike Douglas show with Gypsy Rose Lee hosting. Through the ‘50s and ‘60s he accompanied touring Greek musicians including Kostas Roukounas, Georgia Mitaki, Anna Christi, and many others, sometimes billed as “the little Chiotis” after Manolis Chiotis the preeminent bouzouki virtuoso, its Eddie Van Halen. Chiotis and Pourpourakis became friends in the ‘60s. He relocated to southern California in the early 70s before spending nine years playing tourist spots in Hawaii in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Returning to Van Nuys, California in 1984, he met his second wife Lea. A car accident in 1989 put him in the hospital for two months, and he spent nearly a year recovering. For seventeen years, he played at the Great Greek restaurant in Sherman Oaks, California. He made no more records after 1955. He died on April 11, 2015 at the age of 84.

Kavourakis was said to have been a restaurant owner. He sang on the vast majority of the Kalos Diskos recordings and might have been a co-investor of the label along with Pourpourakis and Miller. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen on May 27, 1957 when he was living at 202 W. 98th St NYC. He was married in Greenwich CT in 1958. He briefly revived the Kalos Diskos label around 1970 for at least two 45rpm releases before moving to Florida. He and his wife Kay were divorced in 1975. He remarried in 1986 and died around 2017 in Greece.

Angeliki Palagoudi was born ca. August 1926 in Pennsylvania to a coalminer father and his wife, both of whom were from the island of Lemnos. The family relocated to the Bronx in the ‘40s, where she sang in the church. It was there that Kavourakis heard her and got her to sing with him and Pourpourakis both at the Kalos Diskos sessions and at the Zappeion Pavilion in Astoria, Long Island from about 1953 to ’55. It was at the Zappeion that she met her future husband Gus (Kostandinos) Anninos who was from Kefalonia, and whom she married in 1954. She sang solo on disc only once and used her husband’s surname at least one record before settling into a life as a wife and mother of four. She sang sporadically, when asked, at weddings, baptisms, and parties in later years but did not record again. She died in Mineola, Long Island in 1995.

Andreas (Andrew) Denis Poggis arrived to the U.S. on Jan. 21 1920 at the age of 13. He filed his Declaration of Intent to naturalize as a U.S. citizen on Nov. 18, 1924 when he was living at 314 W. 40th St., one block from Marika and Kostas Papagikas’s Apollo Tea Room and close to what would become the 8th Avenue “oriental” nightclubs. He went to Athens in 1947 to meet his wife, but shortly after his arrival back in New York (giving Kalos Diskos founder John Miller as a friend on his documentation) a notice to deport him as an illegal alien was issued. Further examination of his documentation, demonstrating that he had first arrived preceding 1924 and therefore before the new immigration restrictions, allowed him to stay. He was eventually naturalized on June 2, 1953 by which time he was living at 84-46 57th Ave Elmhurst, Long Island. He recorded in the late '40s through the '50s for the Panhellenic, Alpha, Liberty, Kalos Diskos and Nina labels. He died in Greece of a circulatory disorder - periarteritis nodosa - on July 14, 1964 after five weeks in the Aghia Marina clinic in Athens, where he is buried. His brother Michael, two sisters Katy and Eve, and wife Barbara remained in U.S.

Biographical data on Virginia Magidou and Rosa Eskenazi are presented on previous Canary albums dedicated to their contemporary recording work.


released December 2, 2022

Known instrumentalists:
Nikos Pourpourakis (bouzouki): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22
Andreas Poggis (violin): 13, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26
Thanassis Athanasiou (guitar): 1, 5, 7, 10, (bouzouki) 11
Agapios Tomboulis (oud): 1,5, 9, 12
Andonis Loris (violin): 5, 6, 10 (and probably elsewhere)
A. Panos (guitar): 3, 6, 11
G. Papakalos (bouzouki): 3, 6
Giannis (John) Gianaros (accordion): 3, 6
N. Patidis (guitar): 13, 24
Andonis Loris (violin): 6
D. Thranteadrakis (accordion): 6
Kostas Gadinis (clarinet): 9, 12
Petros Nikolaou (bouzouki): 24
Diamantou Baka (percussion): 1
K. Christou (percussion): 10
T. Lenteris (oud) and Nick Doneff (violin) may appear uncredited.

Thodoros Kavourakis: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25
Angeliki Palagoudi: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 16, 17, 23
Roza Eskenazi: 9, 12, 20
Virginia Magidou: 3, 6
Roza Seretta: 18
A. Tarabikos: 24
Ioanna Tsakona: 24

Transfers, sound restoration, and notes by Ian Nagoski

Thanks to Dennis Anninos for his help and to Aydin Chaloupka.
Many thanks to Lea Dakis for her permission to present this collection and for the cover image ca. 1953 (l-r: Nikos Pourpourakis, Thodoros Kavourakis, Angeliki Palagoudi, Andonis Loris).
More recordings from the Kalos Diskos label and videos of Pourpourakis are available on her YouTube channels www.youtube.com/@NicosPourpourakis/videos and www.youtube.com/@leadakis123


all rights reserved



Canary Records Baltimore, Maryland

early 20th century masterpieces (mostly) in languages other than English.

An hour in clamor and a quarter in rheum.

contact / help

Contact Canary Records

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this album or account

Canary Records recommends:

If you like Kalos Diskos: Greek Folk & Popular Songs in NYC ca. 1952-56, you may also like: