Bremner has spent 20 years exploring the songs that fascinate him and the strange artform that is kabarett (...or cabaret). His recordings and performances go from the songs of John Cage to Lou Reed, from Joni Mitchell to Charles Ives and always with a special focus on the innovative songwriting of Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht. Bremner has reveled in recording and performing songs that sit at the edges of the canon of popular song.
Now, with a tour of shows spotlighting his own songwriting, he is using his years of experience interpreting the songs of the masters to write songs inspired by those greats, but with his own particular, peculiar voice.
Bremner has created 6 innovative solo performances blending music, storytelling and theatre. In his words: “I strive in all my work to take risks, to explore new ways of telling stories and create engaging performances. I hope to create adventurous, experimental, and innovative work that is an asset to my community and respects the legacies of communities and voices before me. I’m committed to making performances that explore the contemporary world.”
Bremner was born in New York and grew up in the Scotland and Canada. Singing is the only thing he ever wanted to do. Every afternoon, his family could hear him down the street singing his way home from school. He started with Punk Rock bands in Vancouver, BC, moved on to singing Opera, and trained at the Centre for New Opera in Banff, Alberta.
His first recording, Bremner Sings Kurt Weill, was devoted to his own personal obsession, the extraordinary songs of Kurt Weill. Along with French pianist Stan Cramer, Bremner recorded sparse, heartfelt versions of Weill's repertoire, which stretches from the streets of 1920's Berlin to the dazzling lights of Broadway.
For his second CD, The Sky Was Blue, he asked the question "What is a jazz standard? Where do they come from? And why?" As an answer, Bremner created swinging arrangements of songs from his youth: the Velvet Underground, Talking Heads, Joni Mitchell and others, placing them side by side with more traditional jazz standards.
His next recording, '33(a kabarett), is an exploration of musical, emotional, sexual and political inspirations behind the idea of Cabaret, with new arrangements of songs by Weill, Hollaender, Noel Coward and Sondheim.
His fourth recording,Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed, is a return to the songs of Kurt Weill, but this time, after a residency singing with a Jazz Trio at Edinburgh’s prestigious venue, The Jazz Bar, he approached the songs with new arrangements by Scotland's Artist of the Year, pianist David Patrick. Slow, sultry, dark and intense. "I wanted to stay true to the tradition of Weill’s music, but I also wanted to dive into the heart of the songs: whether those hearts were filled with love or murder".
His fifth album came from a desire to combine his classical training with his love of the short song form and resulted in Nouveautes, an album of North American Art Song from the 20th Century. 'The Year's at The Spring', by Amy Beach, America's first professional female composer, was written in 1900 and this collection goes from that song, right up to John Cage's haunting 'Experiences No. 2' and Cage's vocal roller-coaster 'Aria'. There are songs from across the 20th Century, by Paul Bowles, Charles Ives, Benjamin Britten, Canadian composers Jean Coulthard and Barbara Monk Feldman, William Bolcom and the three-part chamber work by Leslie Bassett, 'Time and Beyond.
In 2023, Bremner recorded a vocal jazz album, Temptation, a gently swinging selection of songs of booze, bars and cocktails, inspired by the cocktail culture and community dive-bars that play such an important role in the life of New Orleans.
Upcoming is an album of his own compositions, with arrangements inspired by the dark but swinging alt-brass street-band traditions of his beloved New Orleans.
On the theatre stage, for the last 20 years, Bremner has also been exploring New Cabaret, creating performance pieces that are an emotional collage of ideas and songs. These pieces have been performed across North America and Europe to critical praise: "A stunning theatrical achievement"—Edmonton Journal. "Duthie brings passion, power and conviction to the songs"—The Stage. "Captivating performances of Kurt Weill's songs... beautifully delivered with power and emotion"—Edfringe Review. "Duthie is a baritone with operatic scope; instead of mere interludes, the songs become weapons”—See Magazine, Canada. “And my god, does he ever sing. Bremner's performance is jaw-dropping-my jaw literally dropped"—View Magazine.
Bremner has performed in venues that vary from stadiums in Tokyo, to state theatres in Germany, to improvised atelier-lofts in Paris, ex-Soviet theatres in Mongolia and table-top stages in hard drinking bars in along Lake Superior. He says that each had its own particular delights.
"And my god, does he ever sing. Bremner's performance is jaw-dropping-my jaw literally dropped" - View Magazine, Canada
"Bremner has.... a voice of power and inner beauty that commands the whole space..... One feels seduced by the sheer power and beauty of this performance" - Musical Stages Magazine, UK
"The power of Bremner's voice keeps the audience glued to his performance with applause after applause as each song is laid to rest. Singing in multiple languages and executing them to convey the emotion to the audience, not the actual words, shows artistic and masterful craftsmanship." - Plank Magazine, Canada
“Bremner, whose credits include a hit Kurt Weill cabaret, is the real thing. He’s an intense and expert singer — and more than that, performer— of the ’30s repertoire, in English, French, German, Yiddish. “I don’t speak any language any more.” He gives a sardonic grin, cutting edges, and the sense of a lost era to Boulevard of Broken Dreams, say, or Thanks For The Memories. He makes Noel Coward’s arch little ditty Why Must The Show Go On? a question worth asking, and Lover Come Back To Me an act of mourning. Mac The Knife is a veritable slash of dissonance and horror.” - Edmonton Sun, Canada
"When he sings, his voice is like a big, dark, sultry room --full of emotive and expressive possibilities. Even when Bremner sings in languages other than English, the passion and subtext come startlingly alive." - The Georgia Straight, Vancouver
"Listening to Bremner sing is like sipping hot chocolate topped with cream, sitting on a sun terrace high up in the French Alps, snow all around." - Theatreworld Magazine, London, England
"Folks, you have not LIVED until you’ve heard Bremner Fletcher sing ‘Mack the Knife’ to you.” - The Visitorium, Ottawa
“Bremner channels a classic cabaret singer’s voice - his authentically menacing rendition of Mack the Knife will sand-blast the Bobby Darrin treacle from your ears, and his Falling in Love Again, sung in both German and English, has just the right touch of Marlene Dietrich/Blue Angel gravel.” - Edmonton Journal