I like Fungi music from the British Virgin Islands. Most of what I have heard had banjo uke as a rhythm instrument. Lashing Dogs is one band who's recording somehow landed in my shop. The banjo uke player and vocalist is Aubrey Forbes. Last I heard (10? years ago) he had left the lashing dogs. His solo CD also somehow landed in my shop and is on some cruise line's record label.
The music has a strong dance rhythm. The lyrics run from complaining about youth needing better direction, wrongs of the world done to the common man, and a healthy dose of christian influence. Worth a listen if you can track some down.
Lots of good tenor playing on mento records! I like the banjo lead stuff like Lord Power's "Mambo La La" and Chin's Calypso Sextet. There's some jazzier playing from Alphonso "Blind Blake" Higgs on his various recordings from the Bahamas.
Tenor banjo also eventually took on the role originally held by cuatro on calypso records from Trinidad, playing rhythm figures behind the horns and lead strings. Check out Wilmoth Houdini's "Uncle Jo' Gimme Mo' " for a good example.
On a trip to St. Martin in the early '90s, we saw a local band that included a banjo. It looked home-made: it was a 5-string, small body, 5-7 frets. I couldn't hear the guy very well, but it sounded like he was strumming chords. The rest of the band was button accordion, guitar, a conga-like drum, and I think a bass kalimba. They played stuff like When the Saints Go Marching In and Before the Next Teardrop Falls, plus a version of St. Anne's Reel.
You never know what you might hear in the Carribean islands. The instrumentation is gonna be whatever is available & what they can make. The primary reason for any of us mainlanders going there is to escape the rat race. The people & their music are instantly infectious. Chances of finding a quality banjo down there? Nada. But they are so laid back, you can;t help but enjoy yourself.