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Milton “Go-Go Mickey” Freeman is a DC Go-Go legend and is known for his fast hands on congas and for his raw beats that have become a staple for many area conga players. Freeman won “Congo Player of the Year” in 2006 at the first Go-Go Awards presented by Washington DC radio station WKYS, and again in 2007, keeping the Backyard Band from sweeping every category in which they were nominated. In addition, Freeman has won two individual “Wammies” from the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) and five as a member of Rare Essence along with a spot in AMA’s Hall of Fame.
Counting percussionist and Prince protégé Sheila E. as an inspiration, Freeman was also inspired by local legends Jungle Boogie and Ricky “Sugarfoot” Wellman. He joined Reality Band in 1980 and followed that with stints in Redds & the Boys, Ayre Rayde, and several other go-go groups, before joining Essence in 1984 and rising to legend status.
Freeman recently reunited with several former Rare Essence band members and joined the Go-Go group Familiar Faces. Mickey can be seen performing four nights a week with Familiar Faces at venues throughout the DC area. When he is not performing, Freeman is likely to pop up at local venues to catch other Go-Go bands and can often be persuaded to get on stage and play the congas.
Currently, Freeman offers percussion lessons and is working on a project with his sons Mickey and BJ.