Are you capable of saying anything without including some sort of insult?
Then there are people who are part of ITM. For these people Irish music is a dead historic thing which can never change because all change is bad, they think like this because they are also dead, brain dead at least.
I am only abrasive about ITM because to me it represents musical fascism and I detest fascism of any sort.
It is the ITM people who have tried to hijack Irish Traditional Music and tell musicians what they can
and cannot do. So guitars are out and you can only use an Irish (Anglo-German) concertina. Why do you
expect me to be nice to a small minded group of people with a defective sense of history who think they
are the only true guardians of what is and what isn't Irish music. Are you always so nice to fools?
I do believe that the issue Shaun raises (the friction between preservation on the one hand and keeping tradition alive and evolving on the other) is basically valid; however, I'm also sure that this, being at the heart of folklore, is one of the issues that has been discussed a bazillion times before, and all arguments have been shouted back and forth at least as many times.
I am one of those who tend to believe that any tradition that is not given a chance to evolve and go with the times is susceptible to distracting young people and will thereby fossilize. However, having read (among other things) Geoff's explanations, I have also come to understand that "the traditional way of things" bears many precious details that are well worth preserving and may fall victim to loss over time otherwise.
Thus, points for both points of view can be made. While I thoroughly enjoy, for example, Tony McManus's interpretations of traditional celtic music on the acoustic guitar, I understand that his music both drops instrumental idiosyncracies that can not be rendered on the guitar but by the same token creates new ones that may very well be defended as strongly in a hundred years from now as, for example, 19th century instrumentation is being defended by some today. At the end of the day, it's certainly not a question of right or wrong, but instead (as has been formulated before) a question of what an individual considers more important about music - purity or sustainability (hoping that the choice of words does not create misunderstandings - I wish I could come up with less biassed terms for the two positions; I do NOT consider either point ov view more or less valid than the other).
I just wish the debate could be a little bit more cultivated since, after all, we are discussing culture here, aren't we?