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Mozambique owner Ivan Spiers keeps live music alive by featuring musicians in outdoor venue


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

At one of the few venues allowed for live music in Laguna, Ivan Spiers, owner of Mozambique, is helping musicians and music stay alive in these difficult times. Since musicians weren’t allowed to perform inside, last year Spiers was granted permits for the large tent installed in his parking lot. During the ensuing months, while navigating through the restaurant’s various openings and closings, he invited musicians to come and play.

“I thank the City for working with us to get the tent,” he says. 

Spiers wanted to bring back the music as soon as possible after COVID, of course, for guest enjoyment, but mostly to help the artists survive. 

Free entertainment 

“A lot of artists haven’t been able to work much in the last 18 months, so we are trying to do our part to support them and help them earn tips,” says Spiers. “We have always supported musicians, and the customers are generous in tipping them.” 

The entertainment is free to patrons. 

Spiers bought the restaurant (formerly Tortilla Flats) 19 years ago and spent three years rebuilding it. During the years, Mozambique has been a place to go for good music (and great food).

Mozambique owner building

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Large tent in parking lot at Mozambique

On Thursday through Sunday evenings, different rotating bands perform from 6-9 p.m. On Sundays, Mando Cordova plays jazz from 12-3 p.m., and C-Flat plays Reggae from 6-9 p.m.

Spiers has yet another plan to further support musicians by increasing the hours of operation for live music.

Even though Mozambique now stops the music at 9 p.m. due to the neighborhood noise issues, Spiers has a remedy in the works for that. “In the next nine months, we are going to totally soundproof the building and expand.” 

Only the dining room downstairs will be open for that time period.

“There is much better sound technology now, and I’ve had experts working on it,” Spiers says.

The musicians

Cordova has been playing at Mozambique since 2016 and currently entertains during Sunday Brunch. 

“I am blessed to have somewhere that supports live music,” says Cordova. “There’s nothing else like this venue – a place where there is equipment, and you can just step in and play. I’ve played with several of the other musicians who perform here. We all know each other.”

He sings in three languages – English, Spanish, and Portuguese. With those credentials, one would imagine Cordova came from a long career as a musician, however, he had two careers before this one. He spent 21 and a half years in the Marine Corp, and 16 years as a Police Officer in Long Beach. 

“I was dealing with so much violence,” says Cordova. “Music is the balance in my life.”

Following his parents’ lead, Cordova started playing music when he was a kid. His dad played jazz trumpet and his mother is a vocalist. Delving into jazz six years ago, Cordova rediscovered the American songbook and performs songs by legends such as Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. He hopes the audience experiences the intention behind the songs, “By letting me reach their souls and share feelings.” 

In addition to Mozambique, he plays at The Drake on Friday and Saturday nights.

Mozambique owner smiling

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Front row: (L-R) Mando Cordova, Mozambique owner Ivan Spiers, Jara Harris; Back row: (L-R) Fully Fullwood, Koko Powell, Rock Deadrick, Bob Hawkins, Andrew Bloom, and Michael Hyde

Bob Hawkins, Rock Deadrick, Fully Fullwood, and Michael Hyde make up the band C-Flat which plays Reggae on Sunday nights from 6-9 p.m. 

“We started playing late last year,” says Hawkins. “It’s a great place to play. Ivan provides such a wonderful situation for musicians. We thank him for that.”

“Ivan does a great job of supporting live music,” adds Hyde, who used to play at the White House and Cliff Restaurant.

Fullwood chimes in, “There is always a positive vibration. It’s great working here – and working with all the other musicians.” He also does studio work. 

“I have worked with Ivan and love the opportunity to play live,” Deadrick says. “I very much appreciate the way he supports the music community.” 

The Andrew Bloom Band, which plays on Saturday nights, is composed of Andrew Bloom, Jara Harris, and KoKo Powell. Andrew Bloom started playing at Mozambique when he was just 17 years old, “This place is a blessing for all of us during this time – to have steady work means so much, especially now.”

When not playing at Mozambique, Bloom tours with his band and performs at weddings and other events.

Spiers understands musicians

“It’s the best job and experience I’ve ever had – with the greatest boss who understands musicians and that music is your living,” says Powell. 

Harris, who is soon going on tour with Donavon Frankenreiter, is also part of a band called Slapeak (a name taken from one of their songs). They’ll be playing at Decades in Anaheim on May 28 and will also perform for four nights (from May 6 through May 9) at the Coach House.

“It’s so nice to have a guy like Ivan who understands how the pandemic affected musicians,” says Harris. “He made it a priority to provide work for musicians.”

“Laguna Beach is all about the arts, and music is one of the arts that needs to be supported through this tough time,” says Spiers.

Live music is alive and well at Mozambique, thanks to Spiers and his fantastic group of musicians.

Mozambique is located at 1740 S Coast Hwy.

For more information, go to or call (949) 715-7777.


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