LUMPENPROLETARIAT—Desde Laredo a San Antonio yo he venido a casarme con mi Chencha. Y no he podido por ser mojado, pues para todo me exigen la licencia…
“Un Mojado Sin Licencia” (1975)  by Flaco Jiménez
 This video clip of the Chicano (i.e., American) accordionist legend Flaco Jiménez is taken from the 1976 film Chulas Fronteras. Flaco Jiménez has won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award among the many accolades he’s earned as a musical treasure within, both, the Mexican and American songbooks, straddling the US-Mexico border musically and socially.
Flaco Jiménez’s song “Un Mojado Sin Licencia” is performed in this video clip, apparently, in 1975. But the song seems to have been originally recorded in the 1960s, as it has been re-released in 1993 by Arhoolie Records on the album Un Mojado Sin Licencia and Other Hits From the 1960s.
El mojado sin licencia translates to the wetback without a license, taking into consideration the idiom mojado, which translates to the English language idiom, wetback. (Mojado translates literally to wet one. Sin licencia translates literally to without license.) Of course, like the “n”-word, the term mojado (or wetback) is rather controversial because many of us grew up with Mexican and Chicano relatives using the word liberally to denote an immigrant who has crossed the US-Mexico border illegally. But, when people of other ethnicities use the word, particularly Euroamericans in the context of anti-immigrant racism, then the term obviously becomes a very loaded word.
The term mojado, for younger folks who may be unaware, comes from the descriptive labeling of an immigrant illegally crossing the US border from the south, which often involved crossing a river, such as El Rio Grande. Crossing a river to slip into the USA, meant one got wet, hence the term mojado, or wetback in the English.
(Flaco Jiménez goes by his nickname “Flaco”, which translates to slim or skinny in the English.)
[6 MAY 2016]
[Last modified 06:44 PDT 6 MAY 2016]