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In Iran, M.R. Lotfi is well known for his work with the Shayda Ensemble, the group he formed in 1975 to teach and promote traditional Persian music as well as to develop new works. But after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Lotfi’s organization and other cultural groups faced pressures from the new regime, and the master tar and setar player decided it was time to leave his homeland. Lotfi moved to the U.S. in 1986 and eventually established his new home in the District with the Shayda Cultural and Artistic Center. Classical Persian music is built upon the Radif, a system of organized melodic modes and rhythmic patterns that allow for extensive improvisation. Lotfi plays his stringed instruments with A. Afsharnia on the ney (flute) and M. Ghavihelm on tonbak and daf (percussion) at 8:30 p.m. at George Washington University’s Marvin Center, 800 21st St. NW. $25. (703) 435-5943. (Christopher Porter)