Yo No Sé Mañana Expo Latino 2018!

Luis Enrique performs at Expo Latino in Calgary, Aug 18, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Luis Enrique

Luis Enrique, the Prince of Salsa was a real catch on the second day at Expo Latino, Calgary’s hottest outdoor festival, and one of the biggest Latino cultural events in Canada. He and his excellent jazzy-salsa band captivated the big crowd of dancers in front of the stage at Princes Island. Enrique showed off his talents not only as a singer but playing a nice looking Fender Telecaster and even got behind the drum/timpani set for one song.

Included in the set was his 2018 release Mordaza, a political commentary on violence and the state of the nation in Nicaragua. He left his best-known song until the end, played with a nice slow, romantic introduction in a duo with the keyboard player. It wasn’t long before the audience recognized his hit, one of the very best salsa songs ever produced, and the latino’s lapped it up. Yo No Sé Mañana! I don’t know tomorrow! Such a great song!

Paula Zuleta & Las Divas All Star

Paula Zuleta & Las Divas All Star, came on stage after Luis Enrique to play a great, diverse repertoire of Latin rhythms from Salsa, Merengue, Cha cha cha, Son Cubano, Cumbia, Bachata….did I miss anything? Great performance from this all-girl five-piece band featuring trumpet, keyboards and two percussionists led by Latin Grammy-nominated Paula Zuleta from Colombia.

Emcees for the day

Calgary’s own Cristina Mora Blanco, co-owner of the La Rumba Cuban Dance Company danced and emceed the show along with the Venezuelan telenovela actor, Alberto Mauco. Another nice double act pulling the show together.

There’s still time to visit Expo Latino-the final day is today.

For more images from Expo Latino 2018, please visit my gallery at J. Ashley Nixon Communications.

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Dance, Documentary photography, En español, Heritage, Music, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Expo Latino 2018 gets Calgary moving

A young Capoiera performer from Capoeira Aché Brasil on stage at Expo Latino, Aug 17, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

Calgary’s hottest outdoor festival, Expo Latino got the city moving last night in a celebration of Latin America’s rich offerings of food, dance, and music. In its 22nd year, this is one of the biggest Latino cultural expressions in Canada.

Friday night was a free access night, with a donation to the Calgary Food Bank. Well over a thousand turned up to celebrate and show off their best latin moves on the dance floor, encouraged by the Festival MCs, Carla Diaz Silva, the Director of Raíces del Perú and Colombian broadcaster, Mauricio Salazar.

Mango Show Band performed latin pop and rock that found a place for a blast of an AC/DC riff. Mafia Latin Power got the dancers up with some smooth salsa vibes. But it was a little boy on the dance floor and a young girl performing Brazilian Capoeira on stage with Calgary dance school Capoeira Aché Brasil that stole the show on Prince’s Island for me.

For more images from Expo Latino 2018, please visit the gallery at J. Ashley Nixon Communications.


Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Brazil, Calgary, Canada, Dance, Documentary photography, Heritage, Peru, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Most liveable city in North America: a photographic celebration of Calgary

Young cyclists take in the view of downtown Calgary from Patrick Island on the Bow River, Aug 19, 2015.
© J. Ashley Nixon


The 2018 survey of the world’s most liveable cities was published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) this week. In their annual, widely-read ranking that helps indicate how sustainably cities are developing, Melbourne, Australia which has been at the top of the table for seven years, was pipped by Austria’s capital city, Vienna. Osaka, Japan came third.

Three of the top ten cities are in Canada. My hometown, Calgary came in fourth, ahead of Vancouver (6th) and Toronto (8th), making it the most liveable city in North America based on a range of factors, including political and social stability, crime, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and culture and environment.

Measuring Liveability

The EIU describes its methodology as follows: Every city is assigned a rating of relative comfort for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable. For qualitative indicators, a rating is awarded based on the judgment of in-house analysts and in-city contributors. For quantitative indicators, a rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a number of external data points. The scores are then compiled and weighted to provide a score of 1–100, where 1is considered intolerable and 100 is considered ideal.”

Stability examines the prevalence of crime, the threat of terror/ military conflict or civil unrest.

Healthcare focuses on the availability/quality of private and public healthcare, over-the-counter drugs and other general healthcare indicators.

Culture and Environment measures various indicators that range from temperature rating, climate, level of corruption, social or religious restrictions, food/drink, and other social indicators.

Education looks at the availability/quality of private and public education.

Infrastructure assesses the quality of roads, public transportation, availability of housing, and other indicators.

The rankings are weighted with stability (25 percent), healthcare (20 percent), culture and environment (25 percent), education (10 percent) and infrastructure (20 percent).

Relative Comfort

As well as being in affluent countries, two other characteristics shared by many of the leading cities in the EIU survey are their relatively low population density (Vienna is an exception to this) and overall size (small to medium-, although Tokyo is an exception). These features “can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure” (EIU 2018). Smaller cities, compared to the big urban centres of the world, generally suffer less from crime, congestion and transportation deficiencies.

Calgary: most liveable city in North America

Calgary earned maximum points in four of the five categories, coming down (90/100) only in the Culture and Environment category to gain an overall score of 97.5 percent and the highest ranking of any North American city.

Calgary has grown significantly in recent years (the latest census released in July 2018 showed a year-on-year increase of 21,000 people to raise the city population to 1.27 million) as people from all around the world have been attracted to its economic prospects (especially around the energy industry), its beautiful location in the foothills of the Rockies, cultural diversity and great access to social and municipal services.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said “Calgary is an extraordinary place where people from around the world have come – and continue to come – to invest, to raise their families, and to build great lives. I’m very proud, and we all should be too!” (Calgary Economic Development, 2018).

Gallery of photographs

Please follow this link to my gallery of photographs celebrating Calgary’s achievement of the top North American city in the Economist Intelligence Unit 2018 Global Liveability Index.

EIU 2018 Summary report

You can download The Economist Intelligence Unit 2018 Global Liveability Index summary report here.

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Tubing and surfing Osoyoos Lake

Tubing on Osoyoos Lake, BC, Canada, July 30, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

A summer road trip west with friends, over to Osoyoos, BC, presented a new photo opportunity for me. Dale and Wanda kindly gave us a berth on their boat and the chance to shoot some shots from the stern. The Malibu Response did a nice rate of knots and a plyboard gizmo installed on the stern (a swell wake surf creator) generated bigger waves. All the more fun for our daughters to spice up their pre-season hockey training with some work-outs on the water.

First, there was short-board surfing. Then, after a quick return to shore, we got going again, towing a large red, white and black tube specially designed for this watersport, complete with a platform to lie on and handles to grip. They turned out pretty useful at the speeds we pushed heading south, momentarily crossing the US border, then back over to home Canadian water.

The wider-shots were taken with a Canon 16-35mm f2.8 lens and the close-ups with a Canon 70-200mm f 2.8 lens at as high a speed as I could push to take care of all the banging around at the back (stern, sorry mariners!).

If you like this photo then please take a look at some of the others around Osoyoos Lake in my gallery at J. Ashley Nixon Communications.


Posted in Canada, Documentary photography, Photography, Sports, Sports photography, Travel, Water | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dance of the wankas and wamlas on the backdeck

The Huaylarsh Moderno, performed by members of Raíces del Perú, in Calgary in August 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon


Huaylarsh Moderno

The Huaylarsh Moderno is one of Peru’s best-loved dances and it was an honour to have this performed, along with the Marinera Norteña and Huaconada de Mito, by members of Raíces del Perú on my own back deck in Calgary for my birthday in August.

Huancas and Wankas

Huaylarsh (also written as huaylash, huaylas, waylash, and waylarsh) is a style of music (huayno) and folk dance that comes from Huancayo, the capital city of the department of Junín, and the Mantaro valley in the central highlands of Peru. It was originally played with flutes and drums and danced by the Huanca (Wanca/Wanka), the Quechua people who have lived there since around 600 BC. to celebrate the land as they sowed and harvested potatoes. The Huancas were defeated in battle by the Incas in 1460 but then fought on the side of the Spaniards at times during their long drawn out conquest of the Incas that Francisco Pizarro started in 1526 and ended with the execution of Túpac Amaru, the last Inca Emperor, in Cusco, in 1572.

The dance is believed to take its name from the Quechua (Huanca dialect) word walarsh, meaning young man. The music, style, and costume of the Old Huaylarsh (Huaylarsh Antigua) were changed in the 1950s by the Huanca musician and composer, Zenobio Dagha to form what is now popularly known as Modern Huaylarsh (Huaylarsh Moderno).

Violin, guitar and brass instruments (especially saxophone) now usually support the spectacular choreography and colourful costumes. It is a splendid, high-energy performance, played out as a courtship ritual between young men (called huancas or wancas/wankas) and women (called huamlas or wamlas), noted for its intricate tapping footwork, jumping and, sometimes, acrobatic “show-off” movements by the male dancers.


Big thanks are in order to a lot of people for making this a very special day. To Carla Diaz Silva and the other members of Raíces del Perú for providing a beautiful, cultural show on my back deck. To Pio Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken, the place to go in Calgary for wonderful Peruvian food, for their delicious Arroz con Pollo and other dishes. To Village Brewery for the couple of kegs of Village Blonde that went down so well in our backyard. To my friends for their cards, gifts and for being there, especially Peter, Suzanne, Dave and Nancy who travelled over from England for the event and a fab “Seaview” reunion. And finally to my own family here, Jennifer, William, and Maricarmen for making life happen this and every day.

More photographs

Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications to see more images of these Peruvian dances.

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Dance, Documentary photography, Heritage, Peru, Photography, Social documentary photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rams overcome Canucks in Alberta Cup clash

Oliver White runs in his third try for the Calgary Canucks in their Alberta Cup game against Calgary Rams at Calgary Rugby Union on Aug 11, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon

The Rams took the top position in the Alberta Cup with a win over city rivals, Canucks at Calgary Rugby Union Park on Saturday. The Canucks opened the scoring after less than two minutes with a play from the first line-out of the game that led to right winger, Oliver White going over in the corner. The Rams retaliated four minutes later with a try then another one from a tap penalty under the posts that the forwards moved left across the field.

A couple of high tackles finally got noticed by the referee and the Rams went one man down with a yellow card. The Canucks couldn’t capitalize on their advantage however and the Rams went further ahead after 25 minutes. Oliver White scored his second try of the game before the halftime to bring the score closer at 10-17.

The Canucks got themselves into a likely scoring position three minutes after the interval but in an adventurous move, the Rams fullback sidestepped away from his own line and fed the ball over to the right winger who ran the rest of the field to score an impressive try.

The Canucks came back again with a lovely front row union move started by prop Logan Jones firing on eight cylinders then loading off a beautifully weighted pass to hooker Gabriel Kajdy who went over under the posts. A Rams prop got on the scoresheet seven minutes later and then another Rams try got them clear again, 39-17 with eight minutes remaining.

A stout effort from the Canucks in the closing stage of the game generated two tries by Oliver White (his hattrick) then by captain Jake Bentley but the Rams survived the late revival to win 39-27.

In the Second Division, the Calgary Canucks and Rams closed out with a tied game, 22-22.

For more photos from the two Canucks versus Rams games please visit J. Ashley Nixon Communications

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Calgary, Canada, Photography, Rugby, Sports, Sports photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A new beer on the block: Marda Loop Brewing Company is open for business in Calgary

Mike de Jong serving his customers on his first weekend of business at the Marda Loop Brewing Company, Calgary, Alberta, Canada on Aug 12, 2018.
© J. Ashley Nixon


Calgary has a new brewery on tap. The Marda Loop Brewing Company (MLBC) opened for business over the weekend in Marda Loop with a nice set of five finely crafted beers. As the sky opened up and rained hard over the annual Marda Gras street festival, I squeezed into the crowded brew-pub for a pint and a look around the smart film and jazz-influenced decor. The taste on both counts was very satisfying.

Included on the beer front is Casablanca Blonde, named not only after the iconic black & white film from 1942 starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, but also the long-running video store that used to supply rental films in the community.

Red Trolley Amber, billed as the “social conductor” gets its name from the trolley buses that used to run south as far as the Marda Loop terminus from downtown Calgary between 1950-1975. Jenkins Grapefruit Ale recognizes Mark and Mada Jenkins, who established the Marda Theatre in 1953 (sadly, demolished in 1990) and gave the community part of its name.

Passchendaele Pale Ale pays tribute, with gratitude, to the Canadian soldiers who fought and died in their thousands, in the horrific, long-drawn-out Battle of Passchendaele (1917) during the First World War. Nice respect there, MLBC.

Last on the list, and the one I tried on site, is Marda Station, an India Pale Ale (IPA) named after the streetcar station that the old Calgary Municipal Railway ran between 1911 to around 1950. It’s a full-bodied 6.6% ABV ale with powerhouse, hoppy flavour. With limited time for beer tasting on location, I took advantage of the Fresh Beer to Go service, grabbed a growler of Passchendaele Pale Ale and took it home with me.

On the way out I caught up with the owner, Mike de Jonge who began brewing in his basement. Briefly, we traded stories about our love of beer and our early recollections of pubs-him about his upbringing in Amsterdam, sitting on his granddad’s knee and sipping the froth off his beer; me, about visiting my granddad in Frank and Jenny’s pub, the Kings Arms, Haworth, Yorkshire when I was a lad.

Marda Loop Brewing Company have a well-crafted collection of new beers for Calgary. It’s a great place where you can see the brews being made and quaff them in a nice environment, tastefully designed to bring people together.

My growler is empty. I will have to go back soon!

Posted in #YYC, Alberta, Art & Design, Calgary, Canada, Documentary photography, Heritage, Photography, Urban Design | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments