A SINGER-SONGWRITER has dedicated a song on her first album to help raise money for an African charity that helps mothers living with HIV.

Mara Simpson, from Brighton, recorded Silent Woman for the album Our Good Sides, which features guest vocals from Olly Knights, one half of the duo Turin Brakes, and Ben Ottewell, the singer with indie rock band Gomez.

The album is being released independently on May 20 through Pledge Music with 10% of pre-sales and 25% of money raised beyond its goal pledged to mothers2mothers, a charity that trains, employs and empowers mothers living with HIV in Africa to work alongside doctors and nurses as members of healthcare teams in understaffed health centres.

Mara, 28, said: “Through the release of this album, I will be supporting mothers2mothers, which believes in the power of mothers to end paediatric AIDS. Their work in Kenya, a country which holds a big place in my heart, is of added significance.

“My parents grew up in Kenya and I have got a strong link with it – my name comes from the Masai Mara. Although I was born in Hammersmith, I’m always looking for ways to do more for Kenya and from spending a lot of time there, I know how a lot of the time charities do not always work that well there.

“Then I came across mothers2mothers, which works throughout many sub-Saharan countries, and I was impressed at the way they work and the way they go about it. It’s about getting the community to make changes, through sport and education, and I thought it was so practical and logical, giving these women a boost.”

Mara, who lives in Brunswick and teaches music in Brighton and Crawley, wrote the song Silent Woman. She said:: “It is very much about women having a voice, and how not only do women have a voice that must be heard, but that we are all equal.“

The album was recorded and produced by Tim Bidwell at Clockwork Owl Studios in Brighton – which is also Tim’s living room.

“It was woven into being with old compressors, vintage microphones and many cups of Yorkshire tea,” said Mara. “It was an old way of recording and was really lovely.

“I recorded an EP in a studio in Berlin and it was a bit sterile compared to this, which has a really good feel. It’s really lovely.”

To make a pledge towards Our Good Sides and mothers2mothers, visit pledgemusic.com/projects/marasimpsonalbum. To find out more about mothers2mothers, visit www.m2m.org.

To launch the album, Mara will be playing at Marwood as part of The Alternative Escape festival at 5pm on May 20.