The Interview

If you live or work in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, it is very unlikely that you didn’t hear of Yves Bourgnon. Although being retired back in 2002, this 79-years young Mameranian is always very active in the community. Born in Basel (Switzerland), he has lived in Mamer since 1979. He worked many years for stock broker companies and banks in Canada and USA, and fills his spare time by conceiving mechanical inventions for automobiles. He is active in humanitarian activities and also has a great interest in music, ranging from French chanson to being a singer in the Luxembourg University Choir. For several years he was the president of the Football club Mamer 32, and also a member of the Board and Vice President of the Luxembourg Football Federation.

Together with your partner Monique Kinnen, you are active in the humanitarian association Pharmaciens Sans Frontières Luxembourg. Can you tell us something about the project you two lead?

PSF is a non-profit and humanitarian association, established in November 1991. It aims to provide assistance to developing countries and the most deprived populations, particularly in the fields of health and education. Since its creation, PSF has managed 46 projects, for a total amount of approximately 3 million euro. Monique and I are managing a project of improving the health and nutritional status of children and women of reproductive age in India. Project beneficiaries are children aged 0-5, pregnant women and young adolescents from socially and economically vulnerable communities in the eastern tribal region of Gujarat.

You have been active in many sports, like ice hockey and tennis, and in athletics, like marathon. So, what drew you to Football Club Mamer?

The first reason is my son Frank, who played many seasons in the senior team of FC Mamer 32. With 137 matches played, he is among the top 25 players of all time. I was an UEFA delegate for many years, in charge of numerous games in the Champions League and Europa League. Still, I am most proud of being able to support the FC Mamer 32, serving as its president for five years. It makes me very happy to see it’s always getting stronger and incorporating so many children and players in all categories.

You wrote a book for children?

I have seven grandchildren and enjoy my time spent with them. Besides reading them famous fairy tales and storytelling, I thought it would be a good idea to write down some of Swiss traditional stories in the modern style. It is very important to motivate our children in reading, because books will enrich their knowledge and widen their minds.

When did you actually start writing music, what were your inspirations and to which genre they belong?

I wrote my first songs some 40 years ago. Mostly they are inspired with my life or by people and events that surround me. I get accompanied by piano, also with original music. I believe the songs fit into the “nouvelle chanson” genre, as an update of traditional French chansons.

You also connected music with your business career, producing a musical “Living in America”, which was performed in Mersch and Mamer in 2017. Tell us something about it.

I worked for many years in the USA, and this experience created an inspiration for this musical. It is set in the end of the 19th century, when a family from Mamer, like many others at that time, struggled every day for survival. Times are bad in Luxembourg, the father has no job anymore and the family starts to suffer from hunger. The father decides to migrate to America with his wife and two children. The whole family is embarking on a long and troublesome journey. As they get to the other side of the ocean, they discover a whole new and strange world. But do they find their happiness? That is another story, which the audience has to discover…

For the end, what is your experience with the “Das Supertalent” contest and what is the message you would send to all of those who feel they have a hidden artist inside?

In 2019, I participated in the contest in Bremen, with the jury managed by Dieter Bohlen (from Modern Talking). In the audition, I sang “Always look on the bright side of life” and although I did not qualify for the next round, this was a fantastic experience. My advice to everyone, no matter of age, is: always follow your dreams and do not be afraid to try. Sometimes you will succeed, sometimes not – but you will always grow stronger.

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