Guido Deiro
The Deiro Family

Deiro Coat of Arms

Deiro Stemma (Coat of Arms)

The lineage of the Deiro family can be traced back many centuries to when they lived near the eastern Mediterranean Sea in what is now known as Syria. At this time the family were Syriac Orthodox Christians. The name "Deiro" is from the Syriac language--one of the languages spoken by Christ.

The meaning of "Deiro" is the same in Syriac, Arabic, Galician Spanish, and Italian: "Point of," as in "Deiro Nero" (Black Point). Usually the term defines a point of note like a promontory. In Syria, Orthodox monks, and the monastery they reside in, are referred to as "Deiros."

The region came under Muslim rule in AD 636, and became the capital of the Umayyad Empire, which extended from Spain to the borders of Central Asia from AD 661 to AD 750. At first, the Syriac Orthodox Christians lived in harmony with the Muslims, but after some time religious tolerance decreased, and the Deiros were forced to convert to Islam. Perhaps in search of new economic promise or greater religious tolerance, members of the family migrated to Egypt and followed the Nile River south to the Kingdom of Nubia, at that time a Christian kingdom located in present-day Sudan. There is still a village in eastern Sudan named "Deiro."

Gradually the Deiro's migrated west across northern Africa, eventually to cross the Strait of Gibraltar and arrive in Spain. There they traveled north through the Iberian Peninsula, and were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism by the Spanish Reconquista. In Galicia the family established the village of San Miguel de Deiro probably in the 12th century.

During the early-16th century the Deiros took part in a migration of Galicians into the Italian Piedmonte. Less than a hundred years later in the late 1500’s, this region near the Alps was conquered by the French monarchy and the Deiros had to pledge fealty to the victorius French royals, accompanied by a satisfaction of men and arms, resulted in the Deiro’s being invested as the Lords of the feud of Salto with dominion over the lands of Periglie and Villa Nova.

The chief colors of the Deiro Family Stemma (Coat of Arms) acquired at this time and pictured above are the Black field (which represents the death of Christ) and the Gold chevron (the Italian Alps). The blue field (the color of the French house granting the arms) and the gold fleur des lis agumentations were probably awarded for notable accomplishments. The gold mounted silver helm facing left (sinistra) denotes a nobleman, not a royal. The coronet has the nine pearls of a Count. What looks like ivy is actually a stylized torn battle cloak with blue and gold cinctures at the sides.

Two important members of Guido's ancestral line were the brothers Antonio (b. 1586) and Giacomo (b. 1588), who both died in 1620 from the plague.

In the early 1700’s the Deiro’s expanded their holdings to include much of the area of Canavese and were titled “ Counts” with the Latin appellations of “Illustrissimus”, “Perillustrissimus” and Dominus” placed before their surnames to indicate their high societal ranking.

The Deiros reached the peak of their political and economic influence about 1800 with many members having become attorneys, physicians, businessmen and priests. Thereafter the family slowly fragmented as a series of costly regional wars lasting over a century destabilized the area. World Wars I and II and the popularization of Communism devastated the Piedmonte economically and politically. The 1947 plebiscite ended the Italian monarchy and the recognition of the nobility as a privileged class.

The name "Deiro," which interestingly hasn't been corrupted all these centuries, is notoriously abused, both in spelling and pronunciation, and dogged Guido throughout his career. Phonetically "Deiro" is pronounced "Day-row." Italians roll the "r."

This family history was constructed by Count Idelbrando Coccia Urbani of the Insituto Heraldico in Firenze, Italy, after a two year investigation which concluded in 1985. It is probable that Guido was familiar with this family history, or at least it's Syriac root, and it might explain his infatuation with middle eastern musical themes and rhythms. His Kismet and Egypto Fantasia were remarkable compositions for a European, let alone one living and playing to the American public whom, it can be said, were oblivious to this genre.

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