In the broad world of Filipino music, there are numerous notable icons who are recognized in the many genres that OPM has to offer. But upon hearing Ebe Dancel, it’s a name that resonates with audiences on a profound and personal level.

A true virtuoso in a sense, Dancel’s journey with his music has been shaped (and remembered by many) by his intimate relationship with his guitar. With a career that nearly spans twenty-five years, his story has been remembered for its acoustic resonance, soulful connections, and an unwavering commitment to his artistry. Yet to this very day, Dancel’s name still shines as a beacon of heartfelt melodies and soul-stirring lyrics. 

Some would even say that his music is more than just a series of songs; rather it’s a journey through life’s emotions, expressed through the intimacy of his guitar.  But beyond the music, it’s the profound relationship he shares with his guitar that defines the essence of Ebe Dancel.

A Humble Beginning

Dancel’s musical odyssey began in a simple yet endearing way. The guitar, initially borrowed by his brothers from a neighbor, was the catalyst for his musical exploration. “When they would go to school, I picked up the guitar and copied whatever they were doing. And one thing led to another, so here we are,” Dancel reminisces.

Over the years, Dancel eventually became synonymous with the guitar, an instrument he lovingly calls his own. The acoustic melodies and heartfelt lyrics he conjures have made him an icon in the OPM scene, captivating audiences not only in the Philippines but worldwide.

Dancel’s identity as a solo acoustic performer is inseparable from his music. The guitar, an extension of his being, adds an indelible layer of intimacy to his live performances. His emotional connection with the instrument finds resonance with his fans –– even leaving a lasting impact that transcends geographical boundaries. But for Dancel, measuring the accomplishment and the true extent of the impact of his music is tough to measure.

“I think ultimately history will judge me for what I’m doing now, but I don’t think it’s something I can address. It’s hard to measure accomplishments, and your impact on people because those aren’t numbers, noh? You leave that to the next generation to judge us for what we’re doing now,” Dancel reflects.

The Art of Songwriting & The Guitar

Dancel’s ability to weave heart-touching lyrics into his songs is a testament to his songwriting prowess. When asked about the origin of his lyrics, he offers insights into the songwriter’s art. “A lot of it is from experience, but songwriters kasi [because] are observers,” he shares. “When I’m around my friends, I’m really quiet and I listen to their stories, I pick up a few things and steal their ideas basically,” he jokes.

But his lyrics also spring from the well of human experiences. “There’s a very human aspect to it because no man is an island. Nobody lives in a vacuum; we are directly affected by our immediate environment,” he adds, highlighting the interconnectedness of human stories and the depth they bring to his music.

To him, Dancel’s guitar is more than just an instrument; it’s a trusted companion and a source of catharsis. “It’s really all of the above for me,” he affirms. “The guitar has been my companion since I was in high school since I didn’t have a lot of friends –– well I still don’t have a lot of friends,” he chuckles.

Music, particularly the guitar, became a guiding light in his life. “Growing up, I didn’t really have grand dreams for myself, but when music found me, it gave me something to look forward to every day,” he says. “Every show is different, the crowd is different, but the feeling is still the same. The feeling is that I’m in the safest place in the world.” 

A Journey Through Analog Formats

Dancel’s journey in music has evolved with the times –– embracing the transition from analog to digital. While he still acknowledges the convenience of digital streaming, Dancel maintains a deep appreciation for analog formats, rooted in his early experiences growing up. “I grew up listening to vinyl, and then I would eventually save up for cassette tapes and later on CDs,” he recounts.

He mentions how his first album was released on cassette, which is why making the move to vinyl was even more meaningful to him. “To do it finally on vinyl and to show it to my parents and tell them ‘Look, all your sacrifices paid off!,’ –– there’s meaning to it!” Dancel shares.

Listening to analog music holds a special place for him, as he shares “Just listening to analog music is always different because you can’t just skip tracks. Every album kasi may kwento yan [has its own story], and we don’t just throw in tracks randomly. Every song we write is a continuation of a whole story that is bigger than one or two songs,” he emphasizes.

While he acknowledges the changing landscape of music consumption, he notes that the benefits of the digital era come from its ability to invite listeners into a world of music discovery. “There’s now a great big world for people to consume and discover music, so as long as it gets to them, that’s great!” he affirms.

A Glimpse into the Future

As Dancel celebrates nearly 25 years in the music industry, he shows no signs of slowing down. 

“Next year would be my 25th year, so upon talking to my management, we discussed that there’s going to be a tour of sorts, a new album, and hopefully a big show to end the year!” he reveals excitedly. And while long-term plans remain uncertain, the promise of Dancel’s music still echoing through the years stands as a large testament to his unwavering dedication to the craft.

Ebe Dancel’s story is not just one of music –– but it’s a narrative of connection, resilience, and a harmonious bond between a man and his guitar. His journey reminds us that music is not merely an art form, but also a vessel for human experiences, emotions, and the profound connections that transcend time and boundaries. 

As Ebe continues to strum his guitar and craft his lyrical tales, his legacy remains firmly entrenched in the heart of OPM.