The calabash is the primary musical instrument of Guinea-Bissau, and is used in extremely swift and rhythmically complex dance music. Lyrics are almost always in Guinea-Bissau Creole, a Portuguese-based creole language, and are often humorous and topical, revolving around current events and controversies, especially AIDS.
The word gumbe is sometimes used generically, to refer to any music of the country, although it most specifically refers to a unique style that fuses about ten of the country's folk music traditions. Tina and tinga are other popular genres, while extent folk traditions include ceremonial music used in funerals, initiations and other rituals, as well as Balanta brosca and kussundé, Mandinga djambadon, and the kundere sound of the Bissagos Islands.
People eating oysters in the capital, Bissau.
Rice is a staple in the diet of residents near the coast and millet a staple in the interior. Fish, shellfish, fruits and vegetables are commonly eaten along with cereal grains, milk, curd and whey. The Portuguese encouraged peanut production. Vigna subterranea (Bambara groundnut) and Macrotyloma geocarpum (Hausa groundnut) are also grown. Black-eyed peas are also part of the diet. Palm oil is harvested.
Common dishes include soups and stews. Common ingredients include yams, sweet potato, cassava, onion, tomato and plantain. Spices, peppers and chilis are used in cooking, including Aframomum melegueta seeds (Guinea pepper).
Flora Gomes is an internationally renowned film director; his most famous film is Nha Fala (English: My Voice).Gomes's Mortu Nega (Death Denied) (1988)was the first fiction film and the second feature film ever made in Guinea-Bissau. (The first feature film was N’tturudu, by director Umban u’Kest in 1987.)
At FESPACO 1989, Mortu Nega won the prestigious Oumarou Ganda Prize. Mortu Nega is in Creole with English subtitles. In 1992, Gomes directed Udju Azul di Yonta, which was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. Gomes has also served on the boards of many Africa-centric film festivals.