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A different Ebe Dancel will revisit the songs from ‘Sa Wakas’ and Sugarfree’s other albums

Ebe Dancel

“Just seeing the fans of that album again. A lot of them messaged me out of the blue because I’m Facebook friends with them, most of my old fans.”

While he admits no longer playing some of the songs from Sugarfree’s albums anymore, Ebe Dancel looks forward to revisiting the tracks from “Sa Wakas” and his former band’s other albums for the sake of the fans who supported it from day one.

“Sa Wakas” is turning 20 years old this year. Unbeknownst to many, the album almost didn’t happen. Sugarfree was signed to a different label, which seemingly was not ready to produce and release the band’s album. It was only when the band had signed with EMI and through the help of Angee Rozul that “Sa Wakas” was released—finally.

Ebe also looks forward to sharing the same stage with bands who performed in venues like Freedom Bar, ‘70s Bistro, and Mayric’s.

“The lineup is fantastic. All of them are friends of mine. So, I’m looking forward to spending time with them again,” he said in a recent online media conference. Among those performing with Ebe are The Itchyworms, Cheats and Johnny Danao. Mitch Singson, Sugarfree’s original drummer, will be joining them.


Sugarfree’s songs are timeless. Ebe Dancel tells those stories love and heartbreak so well, and the same stories, two decades later, still resonate with new listeners, several generations after. And while the songs might strike a similar chord in the heart of younger music fans, performing the songs again might not necessarily echo the same sentiment as it did for the songwriter himself.

Because like the people who voted for his songs on NU107’s countdown and who first bought copies of “Sa Wakas,” “Dramachine” and the succeeding albums, Ebe, too, has grown.

Ebe Dancel to hold a concert

“Things are very different now. Over the years, I tried to learn more about my craft. Kasi parang listening to the old albums, I felt na parang there’s another level to go to,” he said.

Eventually, Ebe hired a vocal coach to teach him to breathe and sing properly. Post-Sugarfree, he wrote more songs and released solo albums. And while the arrangements may have changed—in a conscious or unconscious effort to sound distinct from Sugarfree’s songs—Ebe continued to tell heartfelt stories through music.

Stories like the one depicted in “Burnout,” a song he never gets tired of playing for an audience to this day.

“Burnout has such an effect on people. The moment they hear the ting-ding-ding-ding-ding…” Ebe tries to sing the opening chords to the groundbreaking hit, then pauses to think.

“I’ve been performing it for what, 23, 24 years already, and then it’s like they’re hearing it for the first time—for the first time in a long time.”

Nostalgic songs

Another old Sugarfee song that Ebe still loves to play for his fans is “Prom,” a track from “Dramachine.”

If you listen to the lyrics closely, you could take them literally or figuratively.

Nanginginig na mga kamay
Puso kong hindi mapalagay
Puwede ba kitang tabihan?
Kahit na may iba ka nang kasama
Ito na ang gabing ‘di malilimutan
Dahan-dahan tayong nagtinginan
Parang atin ang gabi, para bang wala tayong Kati
At tayo’y sumayaw na parang ‘di na tayo bibitaw

These things could have happened during a prom, or on any other occasion. The songwriter, though, was talking about an actual prom, and speaking from personal experience.

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“I had a crush on a girl for four years,” he said, starting his recollection. “Then, kung senior na ‘ko and prom season na, I wanted to ask her out but someone already did.”

Some time after, Ebe saw a prom episode on Boston Public, an old TV show. “There was this really shy professor who’s had a crush on his fellow teacher for the longest time.

‘Sa Wakas’

And then there was a scene—I don’t know if I just imagined it in my head, that they just started dancing like there’s no tomorrow, dancing like they’ll never let go, dancing like they would never want the night to end.”

On Jan. 28, Ebe Dancel will perform “Burnout,” “Prom” as well as other songs from Sugarfree’s catalog in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of “Sa Wakas.” Hits like “Mariposa,” “Kwarto” and “Hari Ng Sablay” are bound to be part of the 16-song setlist. Ebe is hoping he won’t forget or mix up the lyrics to the songs that none of his fans have forgotten. The venue, 123 Block in Mandaluyong, will be transformed into something akin to a college fair, adding more nostalgia to the mix.

Read: Ebe Dancel to celebrates 20 years of Sugarfree’s ‘Sa Wakas’

Sa Wakas: 20th Anniversary Celebration is co-presented by Gabi Na Naman Productions and Backspacer Records.

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