SPRINGFIELD TWP, Ohio - The father-daughter duo sat in their sunroom leisurely singing while strumming the guitar. Their folk-style sound echoed throughout the small room.
They are known as Anna & Milovan . But to Anna, Milovan is better known as 'dad.'
On the singing duo's website , the words: 'When words fail, music speaks,' are showcased—famous words to live by.
"Touching people's lives with the music, sometimes you can talk to them but it doesn't really translate like a song does," said Anna Moderwell.
That has been the case since her father, Milovan Beljin, 61, moved to the States from in Yugoslavia in 1979.
"I didn't speak English and yet I was listening to all this music, you know, and I did not understand words but music touched me. I was behind the Iron Curtains, and yet that music spoke to me about the Western culture, about freedom, without words really," said Beljin, an environmental engineer by week… guitarist by weekend.
Music helped him learn the culture and the language… from some music, more than others.
"I had Russian in school when I was back in Yugoslavia, but I always loved rock n' roll and I tried to learn English, but Mick Jagger is not the best teacher for English," he said laughing.
The self-taught guitarist has been performing with his daughter on stage for seven years, but they have always enjoyed music together.
"I think she sang more than she talked when she was a baby,” he chuckled, showing a photo of him playing the guitar and her as a baby watching his every move, every strum of the guitar, with a close eye.
“She was always very loud baby and the whole house was just filled with her singing," he reminisced.
Moderwell, a 23-year-old teacher and singer-songwriter, has been on stage with her dad since she was a junior in high school.
"I spend every weekend with my dad. I gave up high school prom for a show. Every weekend, I went to Miami, so every weekend in college I came home and I played with my dad," said Moderwell.
But their musical act is a bit of a different sort of dynamic than most bands, she admitted. When she was younger, she remembered that they would play a gig and then return home, when he would tell her to clean her room.
"Most fathers lose their daughters when they become teenagers, I gained mine," said the proud father, beaming from ear to ear as he looked at his daughter and musical partner.
"I love, well number one, playing with my dad, and I love playing out places and meeting people," said Moderwell.
For Milovan, it's like Father's Day every time they take the stage.
"I just feel the music and I just have the biggest grin on my face you've ever seen and I just enjoy it so much and really there is no other reason to play but to enjoy music with my daughter. It's such a blessing."
"I'm so proud because I enjoy so much music… coming on the stage playing with my daughter, it's the greatest, greatest experience anybody can have."
They have performed at Leo Coffeehouse , College Hill Coffee , Harmony Hill Vineyards , Elk Creek Vineyards , The Blind Lemon , Arnold's, Chez Nora Rooftop Jazz Club , The Iron Horse Restaurant, Symmes Tavern, Grandview Tavern and Incahoots, as well as private events, corporate parties, weddings and various music festivals.
For a complete schedule of upcoming performances, click here.
You can download songs for free by clicking here .
Click on the video below to watch their performance at Harmony Hill Vineyard in Tate Township.
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