Beyond Balkanization

In the latest Framed by WDET feature, Detroit-based storyteller Rob St. Mary and photographer Doug Coombe take a look at various metro Detroit immigrant groups who are from a crossroads of Europe. Their stories feature the local Balkan communities who have woven their cultural threads into the tapestry of the area.

The Balkans is a region with a long history of changing borders. As a result, someone might have immigrated to the Detroit region from a particular nation, but they may not identify with that country. This audio-visual story reveals how preserving and sharing culture – be it through music, food or dance – can build bonds that transcend borders. 

Taken by Doug Coombe / Framed by WDET

Al Trajkoski, owner of Max’s Deli in Sterling Heights.

WDET will present an audio-visual installation of these stories at from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5 at the Oloman Cafe in Hamtramck. It will be a cultural celebration featuring Balkan food from Max’s Deli and music by members of Immigrant Suns and Macedonian folk musicians Milo Destanovski and Jessica Ruiz.

For more information, visit

Image credit: Taken by Doug Coombe / Framed by WDET

This post is a part of Framed by WDET 101.9 FM.

A series of traveling audio-visual exhibitions that integrate photography and audio storytelling to present the stories of ethnic and cultural communities throughout the Detroit region. Produced by WDET 101.9 FM.

This project is supported by individual contributions, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, The Kresge Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and our series sponsors.



About the Author

Rob St. Mary


Born and raised in a working class, northeast suburb of Detroit, Rob cultivated a love of music, writing, and media at a young age.

Follow @RobDET

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