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Guido and Pietro: Part 1
The Life Story of Guido Deiro and Pietro Deiro: Part One
by Guido Deiro
Although the copy of this typewritten article in The Deiro Archives was undated, it is believed to have been written around 1935.
They were born in Italy, in the little town called Salto, Canavese, in Piedmont, Northern Italy. Guido Deiro is the oldest of the two. He was the first of the Deiro brothers to play the accordion; he began at the age of nine years. His first accordion was brought from Germany by his uncle, Fred Deiro, now residing in Stockton, California. This accordion had nine keys on the treble and two basses.
This photograph of Guido was taken in 1903 when he was sixteen years of age. It shows his three-row semi-tone accordion with 60 basses, which he played professionally in Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. Guido gave this accordion to Pietro in 1905 and Pietro, in turn, took it to the United States. The photo was taken in Metz, Germany, where Guido was playing in a cafe.
One day, when my uncle asked me to play for him, and I refused to do so, he took the accordion and broke it on my head. I think that incident, later on, had a lot to do in making me become a real player. My father bought me another accordion; this one had two rows of keys on the treble and eight basses. I used to play this accordion in front of a fruit stand to attract the attention of the customers. After a time I decided to travel the world. My first stop was Germany, my father did not allow me to take the accordion with me to Germany. Upon arrival in Germany I worked in the iron mines in the vicinity of Metz, Alsace Lorraine. I saved enough money to order an accordion from Ranco Antonio, Vercelli, Italy, which accordion had three rows of keys in the treble and sixty basses. When the accordion arrived, I resigned from the iron mines and got a position playing in the "Cafe Shanton," Metz. This was in 1903.
One evening in the early part of 1905, my brother Pietro stepped into the Cafe in Metz in company with another young man whose name was Calisto, Poma. This man by trade was a mason. My brother had an accordion along which had two rows of keys on the treble and twenty-four basses. By this time I had ordered my first piano accordion so I made an exchange with my brother, giving him my 60 bass and taking his 24 bass which I sold to a friend of mine. Through influence I had with a head mason, I secured a position for both my brother and his friend. When my piano accordion arrived, I took instructions on the same from a great pianist and accordion player, by the name of Giovanni Galiardi.
In the meantime, I played in the Cafe Shanton until the early part of 1906, at this same time my brother left his position as a mason and went to work in the iron mines near Metz. In this same year I was called into service of the Italian army in Italy, where I served for eighteen months as a musician in the band, playing different brass instruments.
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