Eighth Blackbird series continues with Rebecca Rego's 'Songs for Cleaning Women' Nov. 11

  • On Wednesday, Nov. 11, the Eighth Blackbird Presents series continues with a concert by singer-songwriter Rebecca Rego. The concert is inspired by Lucia Berlin's book, "Songs for Cleaning Women."

    On Wednesday, Nov. 11, the Eighth Blackbird Presents series continues with a concert by singer-songwriter Rebecca Rego. The concert is inspired by Lucia Berlin's book, "Songs for Cleaning Women." Courtesy of Rebecca Rego

 
Submitted by Ann Fink
Updated 11/5/2020 5:29 PM

The new "Eighth Blackbird Presents: The Chicago Artists Workshop" livestream concert series continues with Rebecca Rego in a concert inspired by Lucia Berlin's book, "Songs for Cleaning Women," at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The event will feature readings of passages from Berlin's book by Chicago actor Leah Casey and celebrates the release of Rego's new album, "Songs for Cleaning Women Pt. 1."

 

Rego has been a Midwest-based singer-songwriter, recording artist, and producer for more than 15 years. She has written and recorded eight albums and toured the country many times over, in solo performances and with her Chicago-based band The Trainmen. In 2014, a mysterious package arrived on Rego's doorstep. In it, was Lucia Berlin's short story collection, "A Manual for Cleaning Women." The note simply said, "I think you'll love this." As Rego began picking through the dark, witty, romantic prose, the stories slowly began to seep into her consciousness and affect her songwriting. After a few years, she realized she had created a unique set of songs based on Berlin's book.

In the fall of 2019, Rego traveled to Northern California, where a handful of Berlin's stories take place, and recorded six of these songs at Panoramic Studio in Stinson Beach with engineer Beau Sorenson (Death Cab For Cutie, tUnE-yArDs) backed by multi-instrumentalist J. Tom Hnatow (Horse Feathers, Ringo Starr,) and Alysia Kraft, Staci Foster and Tobias Bank of the Fort Collins Colo.-based band, Whippoorwill.

The resulting album, "Songs for Cleaning Women Pt. 1," will be released Nov. 11, and celebrated in Rego's live streamed "Chicago Artists Workshop" series performance.

As an independent female artist, Rego is influenced by the unflinching, raw honesty found in Berlin's art. Many of Berlin's stories are semi-autobiographical accounts of her time working blue-collar jobs, raising four children as a single mother, and dealing with her own alcoholism. Berlin died in 2004, never receiving critical acclaim in her own lifetime. Rego's goal with this release is to pay homage to Berlin's stories and introduce new audiences to her work.

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Leah Casey is a Chicago-based actress, writer, and dancer with a love for fictional podcasts. Credits include Manual Cinema's "Frankenstein," adapted from the book by Mary Shelly; Court Theatre's production of "For Colored Girls" by Ntozake Shange and William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" with Teatro Vista. Casey holds a BA in Acting from University of Illinois at Chicago. When not on stage, she can be heard as Rebecca Neil, a reporter for The Onion's daily news podcast, "The Topical" or working with the cast of "Project STELLAR," a science fiction podcast.

The concert featuring Rebecca Rego with Leah Casey will be staged at the Eighth Blackbird production facility located at 4045 N. Rockwell St.

This livestreamed ticketed event will feature limited in-person seating. Recommended ticket price is $20, but options include choosing a price as well contributing as a supporter. For tickets and more information, visit eighthblackbird.org.

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