Alejandra Mesliuk: Shreddelicious interviews Argentinian "dos manos de plata"

Alejandra Mesliuk,
While choosing to develop her skills in modern rock, Alejandra also draws on elements of jazz, tango, folklore, Hindu, and Arabic music.

Alejandra was born on February 12, 1981 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her mother and father encouraged her in her early years to love nature and respect all living things. Her mother being an artisan and graphic designer, and father a chemical technician had great influence which motivated her interests in different branches of art and science.

At eight years of age, she began to sing in the church of the town where she lived and was her first encounter with the guitar. On her 16th birthday, she received her first guitar which she asked for in place of a traditional 15th birthday celebration. She rapidly developed skills on the instrument and within weeks started playing and singing in church. During one of her rehearsals, she met Demian Planiscig, who invited her to play in what would be her first band which soon would play various shows in Buenos Aires.

Alejandra Mesliuk

At seventeen, Alejandra made the decision to enroll at the popular Escuela de Música Popular Avellaneda (EMPA) before graduating high school. Studying at EMPA, she focused on tango, jazz and folklore. While attending, she studied under prestigious musicians of both local and international stature. She took private lessons under Roberto Calvo, Daniel Jauregui, and classic metal guitarist Charly Vega, and also studied harmony and jazz guitar at Berklee method under the Temperley School of Music by Ariel Ferreyrola. Pushing her education even further, Alejandra studied vocal music of India with Aline Meyer, who she also accompanied in live choir and tampura performances.

As she pursued music as a professional career, she worked in several rock and pop bands including Gestalt, and regularly played accompaniment for various singers, studio session work, and other independent productions. Another noted project was Inventio, a progressive metal band where she contributed heavily to the group's compositions and arrangements.

As an instructor/teacher, Alejandra has taught guitar and music for 11 years, covering various styles, and teaching private lessons, along with holding clinics and seminars for musicians around Buenos Aries and the interior. She also wrote articles on guitar technique as a columnist for various music magazines during 2008 to 2010. She has developed a comprehensive and effective method for teaching various techniques and elements of composition in rock guitar.

two hands tapping: "Perfumes" por Alejandra Mesliuk

[Shreddelicious] 1 When did you start playing guitar?
I first fell in love with music and the guitar when l was eight years old, but my parents couldn´t afford guitar lessons, so l had to wait. I started singing at church and for my 15th birthday, instead of having a big party as many girls usually have here, l asked for an electric guitar as my birthday present. However, l had to wait for almost another year before I received one. About 6 months into that next year, I started playing with an old Spanish guitar. My dreams came true one week before my 16th birthday when I went with my mother to a local music store and purchased my first guitar. It was a Fender Stratocaster (made in México). On that day my entire world changed!

I remember the first 3 cassettes my teacher gave me. They were “The Extremist” (Joe Satriani), “The Blue line” (Robben Ford), and another with some recordings of Larry Carlton. Satriani was by far the most influential and also my first instrumental album.

Alejandra Mesliuk,

[Shreddelicious] 2 What made you decide to take guitar seriously?
Two months before my 16th birthday, I began taking lessons from a teacher near my home and he asked me, “What do you want to do? Do you want to just learn for fun or something more serious like composition and theory?” I told him I was very serious about learning to master the guitar and it's many techniques.

Shortly after my 16th birthday, I joined my first rock band. By 17, I began to attend the Music School, EMPA and began more studies with another instructor.

[Shreddelicious] 3 What are your favourite albums?
My favorite albums… there are many, and they will probably change in the future

  • The Extremist (Joe Satriani), this was my first influence
  • Symphony X, (full discography)
  • Dream theater (full discography)
  • Fives, Introspection (Greg Howe)
  • Remember Shakti (John Mclaughlin)
  • Passion and Warfare (Steve Vai)
  • Yngwie Malmsteen (many Cds)
  • Liquid Tension experiment I and II
  • VTT I and II
  • Allan Holdsworth
  • Universo Inverso (kiko Loureiro)
  • El Chango Faríaz Gómez y La Manija
  • Aca Seca Trío
  • Luis Salinas
  • Luis Alberto Spinetta

And many more! The list is too long to include here!!! I also like Celtic, Egyptian, and Indian music.

Alejandra Mesliuk,
[Shreddelicious] 4 What do you think of the use of social media for promoting your work?
The Internet and social media have been a blessing for me. I have received many compliments from all over the world on some of the audio and video I have posted online. It's also given me visibility to other musicians. For example, I live in Argentina and I am currently part of the North American based band A Persuasive Reason. TJ Jones, the founder and bassist, saw a couple of my videos online and contacted me through email. 

I will also be recording one of my songs, “Kundalini” with drummer Raphael Jorge, from Brazil. Opportunities to work long distance with musicians like these would not have been possible 10 years ago.
It really means a lot to me when people in other countries openly receive my music. I am so grateful for their positive responses. The internet truly gives an artist like me a chance to “let the music fly with wings”.

Alejandra Mesliuk,
[Shreddelicious] 5 If you had a chance to play with anyone who would you pick?
I feel very fortunate to be playing with some very talented musicians from across the world whom I never would have imagined; for instance TJ Jones (A Persuasive Reason) and Dana Burnell (A Persuasive Reason and Crimson Glory), Tina Diggs (Arrows of Agony/Down of Morgana/A Persuasive Reason) and Donald John (A Persuasive Reason). I have also had the pleasure of playing with Demian Planiscig, Martin Allegro, Pacha Mendez, Edgardo López, all who are very talented people from Argentina.

As for my 'Dream List' it consists of:

  • Vinnie Colaiuta
  • Zakir Hussain
  • Herbie Hancock
  • Kiko Loureiro
  • Stu Hamm
  • Victor Wooten
  • Jordan Rudess
  • Russell Allen

Alejandra Mesliuk,

[Shreddelicious] 6 Have you ever had any live show disasters?
Fortunately, I have not had any major disasters. However, my first show with A Persuasive Reason was a small concert here in Argentina. The lineup for the show included myself, Demain Planiscig, and Jessica Hicks (who was the singer at that time). We used backing tracks for the remaining parts. During one of the songs where I have a very difficult two handed tapping section, and shredding riffs, the lights went dark and came back on with a strobe effect with no spot light and it made my hands look as if they were jumping about the fretboard! It was funny but also horrible because I had difficulty tracking where my hands were. If you watch the video closely, I was saying some 'choice words' in frustration, but now I look back on that situation and it makes me laugh.

Alejandra Mesliuk from A Persuasive Reason (Destination solo)

[Shreddelicious] 7 How do record your guitar videos?
Currently, I record my video with a Zoom Q2 HD camera for the video and ambient audio. This is what I use for speech to explain the lesson to the viewer. For the guitar, I use a Line 6 HD500 for my tone into a computer running Presonus Studio One Professional as my DAW. Final editing is performed in Sony Vegas.

Alejandra Mesliuk,
[Shreddelicious] 8 What do you think of illegal music downloading?
Hmm, this is an interesting question, so I will divide my answer into two segments:

1. Yes, I agree with you. Illegal downloading is exactly that – it's 'Illegal'. It is wrong and especially for musicians who make their primary income from their music, this financially hurts them.

Alejandra Mesliuk: "Away with you" Guitar solo (A Persuasive Reason)

2. Before the Internet, music in my country was very difficult to find and importing is EXTREMELY expensive and unreliable. The taxes and shipping could sometimes add up to 4 or 5 times the actual cost of the CD itself. Because of this, CD's from artists around the world were not affordable. This also worked both ways. Distribution of Argentine artists' music outside our borders was also very difficult. After Internet access became available here, so did illegal downloading. It took some time after that before online purchasing became available. However, this brought access of worldwide music to Argentina and we have seen many artists grow in their styles from influences abroad. 

To add more reason to support an artist by purchasing downloads, here it is common practice for venues to be 'Pay to Play'. Very few venues actually pay the acts for gigs. So a musician in Argentina has less opportunities for income streams for their talent/craft, than say USA, where I have friends who work music gigs part time and full time as unsigned or up and coming artists.

I believe that what makes the difference is what you choose to do and be an example of your beliefs to your peers: I purchase CDs of my friends and local bands that I like. If you want people to buy your CD but you don't purchase them yourself, what can you expect? I choose be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Alejandra Mesliuk,
[Shreddelicious] 9 Can you tell us a bit about your Guitars and Amps?
My guitars are:

  • Ibanez RG1527
  • Fender Stratocaster México
  • Godín Multiac (Nylon)

I´m using a Line 6 HD500 for recording, live shows and clinics. Currently I´m not using an amplifier. Yes, this may sound strange to some of your readers, but this option is the most efficient for traveling to clinics and shows around Argentina. It's also been a great advantage for recording with A Persuasive Reason, the band is from Florida (USA).

It's been our key for long distance recording, TJ and I have the same POD and all the guitar tracks, except for 2 solos, are the POD HD. Away With You and Destination solos were raw tracks that were re-amped at TJ's studio through a Mesa Boogie Triaxis into a Mesa Boogie Stereo 2:90 into a Mesa 4x12 cabinet.

A Shure SM 57 was used to mic the cabinet and run through a Universal Audio LA 610 and then into the DAW interface.

Alejandra Mesliuk

[Shreddelicious] 10 Can you tell us about your latest recording?
With A Persuasive Reason we're working on our first album called “Spire”. We have a new singer now, Tina Diggs, so we are very excited to finish up the last songs and complete the album.

As for local projects, I'm starting an instrumental project here (progressive and fusion), and working on a professional video for the song “Perfumes”, which a two handed tapping song, with tabla, derbake, and Udu. It will be awesome!

Lastly, I'm currently finishing my book about Two Handed Tapping Technique.

female guitar player Malen mesliuk, solo

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