Danao, Dancel, Dumas’ ‘Iisa’: A Triumphant Third

Jun 13, 2018

The rainy Saturday evening of June 9 was complemented by the warmth and comfort offered by the music of 3D – composed of Johnoy Danao, Ebe Dancel, and Bullet Dumas – in their third concert titled “Iisa”, as a singer-songwriter trio.


While there was heavy downpour outside, inside the 2,000-seater Kia Theatre in Cubao, Quezon City filled with fans and supporters of the three, hearts and ears were drenched in nothing but good music.


The show was opened by fellow singer-songwriter Reese Lansangan who sang some of her original songs including “Exploration No. 5”, “St. Petersburg”, “Home”, and “For the Fickle”.


Immediately after Lansangan, the three main acts were introduced by an orchestral medley of each of their hit songs performed by the Manila String Machine who also accompanied them throughout the whole show.



Danao, Dancel, and Dumas then appeared on stage, each with a guitar on hand, and welcomed the crowd with their staple collaboration of Sugarfree’s “Burnout”. What followed next was a spectacle of a show that went yonder what the viewers came for and expected.




“Hindi namin akalain na mag-coconcert kami dito (We never thought we’d have a concert here),” Johnoy Danao remarked in awe and gratitude before the jam-packed Kia Theatre audience during his solo set.


3D has had two major concerts in 2016, “Dama” and “Dama: The Repeat”, which were held at the smaller, more intimate venue Music Museum. Performing in front of more people was definitely a big deal for the trio. So in his 10-song set, Danao made sure to pour his heart out as he performed some of his original pieces he seldom sings in his usual gigs. Among these are “Kahit Na”, “Kapag Kita’y Kapiling”, and “Aking Mahal”.



He also rendered his more recent songs including “Malayang Bilanggo”, “Dapithapon”, “Bakuran”, and “Right Time”. For his last three songs which included Danao’s two more originals “Ikaw at Ako” and “Kahapon”, he called on stage special guest Kakoy Legaspi to play the guitar. Kakoy Legaspi is known for his stints as the guitarist of Rivermaya, Barbie’s Cradle, and Peryodiko.


Legaspi and Danao have done collaborations in the past and “Iisa” was not just a time for a reunion of the two, but also a time to showcase, to a wider scale, the immense talent and songwriting skills of Legaspi through their performance of his original piece, “Waltz in D”.




Bullet Dumas is always a different story. With his peculiar style of playing the guitar with strong, aggressive rhythmic accents, he swiftly changed the mood of the concert venue into a folk music habitat that is his own.



The Manila String Machine and the light direction played part in Dumas’s performance. It was a  superb contrast between the subtle sounds of the orchestra and the raw, riveting voice and guitar-playing of Dumas. The stage lights also tried to tell the story of his songs by being in sync with every beat of his music, specifically palpable in Dumas’ dynamic, pulsating piece, “Tugtog”.


Also included in his set were his other original songs “Limguhit” and “Put to Waste”. He further unveiled a new original called “WL K N” (Wala Ka Na), during which he invited the audience to sing with him in the playful quip of the song: “Maniwala ka na, minamahal kita.”  


Like Danao, Dumas also invited special guests to perform with him. For his original Waray-waray song titled “Hain Ka” (Nasaan Ka), he called ballerina sisters Candice and Carissa Adea to render a dance number. Another special guest, who was already on stage as part of the orchestra, was introduced by Dumas. It was none other than his girlfriend, Janine Samaniego, who rendered a violin solo for his last song “Umpisa”.




Ebe Dancel’s familiarity and proficiency in performing in front of large assembly was radiating as he took on the stage as the last solo act of the night. Throughout his set, he told bits of stories of how 3D became what it is now –  how he would frequent the gigs of Johnoy Danao and Bullet Dumas, and how like a lightning bulb that suddenly turned on, he thought: “I think we’re fit.”



Flash forward to “Iisa” where the three of them, albeit each with an individual style and sound and different brands of guitar, had the chance to perform one by one and as a trio to celebrate and reminisce that one collaboration idea which has now grown into a tenacious musical group loved and adored by many.


Dancel’s set was a perfect end to the trio’s third triumphant show. He performed his former band Sugarfree’s hit songs such as “Kwarto”, “Wag Ka Nang Umiyak”, and “Tulog Na”; as well as some pieces he released as a solo artist including “Lakambini”, “Kasayaw”, “Paalam Kahapon”, “Dapit Hapon”, and “Bawat Daan”.


But ultimately, the finale of “Iisa” was the trio getting together back on stage to sing an OPM classic, Florante’s “Handog”. This last performance by Danao, Dancel, and Dumas was nothing short of exquisite. The song was the perfect homage of 3D to the concert-goers to show their gratitude and appreciation for the unfaltering support throughout the years of their musical journey as a singer-songwriter trio.

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